Vera Waddington

Vera Waddington was born in Wiltshire and studied at the Slade School of Fine Art. She was a landscape and portrait painter, and wood engraver.

By the turn of the 20th century women had begun to gain entry to the progressive art schools, including the Slade School in London. It was into this period of artistic development, much influenced by French painting, that Vera Waddington developed and honed her visual language. Her ambition was to be an independent, professional artist.

By 1903, when she persuaded her parents to allow her to attend the Slade, she was already technically accomplished. The Slade at that time was in its heyday under the inspired teaching of Frederick Brown, Walter Russell, Henry Tonks and Wilson Steer. Vera completed her course with considerable distinction and prizes in 1908, with Tonks remaining a life-long friend and champion, even where Vera’s visual expression differed from Tonks’ views.

Vera continued to visit the Slade for some years and it was then that she made friends with Duncan Grant, Virginia and Vanessa Stephen, painting a mural in Duncan Grant’s studio. Grant also visited Vera’s home and she was friendly with other members of the Bloomsbury Group and Friday Club, such as Roger Fry, Lytton Strachey and later on, with artists such as Ethel Walker.

In 1909 Vera spent 6 months in the Far East. Her sketches from life, drawn in the markets and homes of Shanghai, formed the basis for her first solo show, Chinese studies held in 1910 in Bury Street. Her work won praise from a number of quarters.

While Vera admired Cezanne and the post impressionists she never attempted to produce pastiches of their work but maintained an independent line. As a professional artist she developed her style in a variety of media including oil, pastel and watercolour, later wood engravings and lino cuts. Commissioned in 1919 to produce a roll of honour for the church of Mapleduram she also became a skilled in calligraphy and illumination. She painted in a variety of genres, including landscape, portraiture and children’s studies.

As well as solo shows Vera exhibited regularly with the New English Art Club, the Women’s International Art Club and at the Royal Academy, and Paris Salon. She also obtained an Honourable Mention at the International Print Fair in Chicago.

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