William LOGSDAIL (1859–1944)
The Manor House, Noke
Born in Lincoln in the shadow of the cathedral where his father George Logsdail was verger, he attended Lincoln Grammar School and went on to the Lincoln School of Art where Frank Bramley (later of Newlyn fame) was his friend and fellow student. When William was only seventeen, the Royal Academy accepted four of his paintings for exhibition.
From 1878 he attended, with Bramley, the Royal Fine Arts Academy in Antwerp where his technique was influenced by Professor Charles Verlat. His bustling genre painting The Antwerp Fish Market was exhibited at the RA in 1880 and bought by Queen Victoria. Inspired by Ruskin’s Stones of Venice (1853) he lived and painted in Venice in 1881–1887 and again 1892–1901. His first large canvas The Piazza of St Mark’s (now in the Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery) created a sensation at the RA. It was at this time that he adopted the demanding method of painting even large canvases en plein air and took to portraying friends (and later family) in the street scenes. His travels took him next to Egypt, Palestine and the Balkans in search of picturesque subjects.
In 1887 back in London, he embarked on a series showing busy street scenes with landmark buildings. The best known are The Bank and Royal Exchange (1887) and St Martin-in-the-Fields (1888), now in the Tate Gallery, The Ninth of November (1890) portraying the Lord Mayor’s Parade (Guildhall Art Gallery).
The Ninth of November (The Lord Mayor's Procession, London, 1888) (1890)
A change of direction came in 1907 when a portrait of his daughter was much admired. Commissions came pouring in from such figures as Lord and Lady Curzon and Sir Edward Grey. Logsdail remarked on this transformation of his life after 40 years of painting: ‘After that no more rising at dawn, no more out in the open at the mercy of all weathers, no more doubt as to the sale of my work when done.’ In 1912 he was elected to the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.
In 1892 he had married Mary Ann Ashman, daughter of a Norfolk shepherd. Three children, Mary, Edward, and Stuart were born to them and in 1922 the family settled at the Manor House in Noke. Logsdail died there in 1944.
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article by Nancy Rose Marshall (2012)
- Sixty of his paintings can be viewed at www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings
The plaque was unveiled at the Manor House, Noke, on 13 July 2013 by W. E. J. Logsdail, the artist’s grandson, and Professor Nancy Rose Marshall, art historian, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who gave the address.
- Speech made at the ceremony by Professor Nancy Rose Marshall (PDF)
- Photograph of Professor Marshall with Edward & Evelyn Logsdail
Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board