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Ann fills in some background colour to talented artist

By Toby Neal | Nostalgia | Published:

There will surely be some Salopians who have paintings of local scenes – perhaps even of their own house – signed by artist WHC Twist proudly hanging on a wall at their home.

And now, thanks to the daughter of Bill Twist, we can add some extra colour to them by sketching in the personal background of that Shropshire artist with a passion for his craft, but who died before he reached retirement age when he would have devoted himself to painting full time.

A little while ago we carried a September 1962 photo in our Pictures From The Past slot of Mr Twist at the easel painting the Guildhall, in Much Wenlock.

"It was a delight to receive a cutting sent by one of my schoolfriends," said his daughter Ann Truesdale, nee Twist, who lives at Ewelme, Oxfordshire.

"It has brought back many happy memories. My father did many paintings of Shropshire from the late 1950s until 1967. He always signed them as WHC Twist.

"I would be delighted to hear from anyone who has one of his paintings."

(If you do have one, her email address to get in touch is ann561@btinternet.com)

Ann says she has a dozen or more of her father's paintings framed, and her sister also has several.

"He had a lovely style and the paintings are as fresh now as they were 60 years ago. He used very good paint and top-of-the-range paper.

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"Our family moved from Liverpool to Newport in Shropshire in 1954 as my father had been appointed dispenser to the GP practice Elkington, Sowerbutts and Neville. His previous job had been at St Paul’s eye hospital.

"He had obtained his apothecary qualifications while serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps in the 1920s and as he was on reserve was later called up just before the start of World War Two.

"Between 1941 and 1942 he was stationed on an ambulance train in Hanwood, near Shrewsbury.

"He had always been creative, making furniture, drawing, painting, metal working and doing calligraphy.

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"His passion was painting, in particular watercolours, and in Newport he gained the confidence to paint ‘en plein air’ (in the open air) for the first time, rather than copying other artists’ pictures.

"He attended an evening art class in Newport and later was invited to tutor a number of workshops held in different locations in Shropshire.

"He exhibited at the Shropshire Art Society annual exhibitions. He was given commissions by local people, often to paint their houses. He also took his paints and easel on annual family holidays. That showed determination as we did not have a car.

"I do not know how many paintings he did and it would be lovely to make a record of any still in existence. As well as Shropshire, there may still be paintings from Salcombe, New Quay in Wales, Guernsey, Oban, Paris, and other places.

"Sadly he died in 1967 before he had reached retirement age when he would have painted full time and tutored art classes."

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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