17th Burnham Art Trail
Saturday 19th June to Sunday 27th June 2021
Day 8 Saturday
“I find the main benefit of an art studio is that I can walk away from my art work at any stage of it, without having to pack away and tidy up my art equipment. I can then easily start again from where I left off. It gives me a place where I can concentrate and get away from the day-to-day distractions.”
John enjoys the skill of creating a good composition that eliminates unnecessary detail giving his pictures a feeling of simplicity. Here he shows seven stages in creating one of his stunning watercolours.
Anne’s jewellery is inspired by shape, texture and colour. She enjoys the freedom of using fine silver metal clay, semi-precious stones and other materials, to create unique pieces of jewellery.
During Lockdown Anne has been busy ‘doing her bit’ in supporting the NHS by making and selling her pretty rainbow jewellery and keyrings.
I have lived and worked around Burnham since 1978. Now in semi- retirement I am taking delight in pursuing painting, a hobby that I have dabbled with for years and brings me joy. You can see more of Rogers work on Facebook.
Kitty has been inspired to create handmade screenprints and zines about a scandalous 19th century Foulness Island woman…
The Mysterious Maria Scratton of Prittlewell Priory
The Victorian portrait of Maria Scratton sparked my curiosity. Who was this woman in her fine red velvet gown, glistening jewellery and peacock feather fan? And why did people not approve of her? Her expression gives nothing away, but her clothes and jewels suggest someone who loved colour and fashion and fripperies – and someone who didn’t care if she broke the rules.
I started to research her life, and gradually formed a picture of a remarkable woman. Unlike her wealthy (and younger) husband, Daniel Robert Scratton, Maria was not a member of the landed gentry, or the middle classes. In fact, she came from a working class background, a humble blacksmith’s daughter, and grew up on Foulness Island – a remote and wild place at the time, where fugitives hid from justice, smuggling was rife and bare knuckle fighting was celebrated.
In the 1841 census, Maria was living with her family and working as a dressmaker, a lowly and gruelling profession. By contrast, Daniel was enjoying student life at Oxford, and in 1842, on the death of his father, inherited the Scratton fortune and lands, and became Lord of the Manor of Prittlewell. A hunter and sportsman, Daniel was clever, well respected and hardworking, but also cheerful, tall and handsome.
Daniel’s mother would have expected him to marry well, but instead he fell in love with Maria Thornton – a ‘nobody’ from a much inferior class, and from the infamous Foulness Island to boot. To add insult to injury, Maria was aged 27, two years older than Daniel, and firmly ‘on the shelf’ by standards of the day. His two sisters would have been mortified to have a mere ‘dressmaker’ introduced to their family as an equal, and no doubt, Maria’s family struggled to accept the changes to her social status.
1845 was a time of great prudery and snobbery, and marriage between the social classes was scandalous. People were meant to ‘know their place’ and stick to it, and some of the upper classes considered their servants too inferior to look in the eye. Probably to appease Daniel’s mother, his marriage to Maria took place in London, away from local gossips, and was not announced in the newspaper. For newly wed Maria, the changes to her life were immense. She had to learn how to manage a large household with servants, and how to dress and behave in accordance with her role as lady of the manor. To acquire these skills, and transform herself while surrounded by disapproval, took determination and bravery.
But Maria did not shy away from the public eye. There are reports of her wearing fine clothes and jewels while tearing about the locality in her yellow-wheeled barouche (a fashionable and luxurious horse-drawn carriage), and also of her galloping over the countryside on her husband’s favourite stallion. How tongues must have wagged! And how little she seemed to care!
It’s not known how Maria and Daniel met. In theory, their worlds wouldn’t have connected at all. But I do know, when the tide was out, Daniel rode over the treacherous Broomway to Foulness Island to shoot wildfowl, or to play cricket on the green. Maybe, amongst the locals, he noticed a strong and striking blacksmith’s daughter, gracefully going about her day. Not lowly or demure, not loud or coarse, but someone extraordinary, with an independent spirit, who looked him in the eye and held his gaze. I think he was captivated.
They were married for 56 years, until Maria’s death in 1901. Daniel died shortly after, in 1902. They didn’t have children, but by all accounts, they were very happy.
New to the Art Trail is David Kench, a self-taught artist. Although in his early years he did attend art classes to work in various media and improve his skills. He mainly considers himself to be a watercolourist but also works in oils, acrylic and pastels.
We have now completed our second Saturday, and are approaching the end of our virtual trail.
But we still have a busy Sunday ahead with a look at Artists Studios, community art and some music and memories from Art on the Quay.
Join us for our final day of the Burnham Armchair Art Trail at 10.30am…