CAS Permanent Collection . Sidney Eshelby

Biography

Sidney Eshelby came to Essex in 1947 on appointment as first Chief Probation Officer for the county of Essex. He started to paint shortly before retirement in 1969. Many of his paintings feature the local landscape of Suffolk and Essex, as well as still lifes and portraits.

Sidney Eshelby was a prominent member of Colchester Art Society from 1969 to 1981. He served as a Senior Committee Member for a number of years and organised visits for members to exhibitions in East Anglia. He lived in Lexden, Colchester. This painting was exhibited at the 1982 Colchester Art Society sponsored exhibition (for details see below).

Statement

Wormingford is a village North-West of Colchester and South-East of Sudbury in Suffolk. Most of the parish is good farming land and John Constable (1776-1837) had relatives farming at Wormingford Hall. Also John Nash RA (1893-1977) (q.v.) lived at Bottengoms farm on the edge of the village from 1929 to 1977. The house is now lived in by Ronald Blythe (b.1922) (1) who inherited it from the artist.

The name Wormingford gave rise to three stories of dragons (worm meaning serpent or dragon), all unsubstantiated, but still remembered. There is even a stained glass window in the local church (St Andrew’s) which depicts one of the stories where apparently a crocodile escaped from Richard I of England menagerie in the Tower of London and caused much damage in Wormingford before being killed by Sir George Marney.

Another story says that the village is where the patron saint of England, St George, famously killed his dragon and there is a mound which is said to cover the body of the legendary dragon. In a third story, written in 1405 by John de Trokelowe, a monk, a dragon who threatened Richard Waldegrave’s territory near Sudbury fled into the Mere (2) when pursued. This dragon frequently requested to be fed with virgins…

Selected Exhibitions

1968-71, 1973, 1975-79, 1981, Colchester Art Society

1982, The Minories, Colchester, Judith Moy (watercolours), Connor Barrett (sculpture and drawings) and Sidney Eshelby (paintings), Colchester Art Society sponsored exhibition,  (12th June – 11th July)

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(1) Ronald Blythe is the English writer, essayist and editor best known for his account of country life in Suffolk at the turn of the century to the 1960’s in a book entitled Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village (1969).

(2) The Mere is a natural lake formed by the river Stour.

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