The webteam have been asked if they can help find out any information about a painting of Church Street, Hodnet signed by Frank Paddock. The date on the painting is ’84 and the scene looks more like 1884 than 1984. The painting (pictured right) shows St. Luke’s Church steps, the property which is presently Mulberry Bush Studios, The Hundred House and The Bear Inn.
Fran Holt, who was bequeathed the picture by her Auntie Annie, shares the story behind it:
I am very fond of this painting of, I believe, Church Street in Hodnet. I look at it each day and wonder about the people in it. Why is that man pointing his walking stick at the pony and trap? Who is the man in the top hat who is driving it? Where is he going? What are the flower sellers talking about? And who is or was Frank Paddock?
My lovely Auntie Annie looked after me when I was a baby, 65 years ago, as my mother was too ill to do so. They were sisters and Auntie had no children of her own so I spent my first few years with her and Uncle Arthur in Market Drayton. We remained close throughout my childhood and I remember them both very fondly. Exactly thirty years ago, Auntie, who was by then a widow, wrote me a letter. She then put it with her Will so I did not receive it until after her funeral. I have it here now:
“Dearest Frances, I feel that my time on earth is approaching its end. You have always been very very special to me and very kind and thoughtful ever since you were a tiny little girl. I have noticed how fond you are of my Hodnet painting: you gaze at it with such a lovely smile each time you come to see me. I very much fell in love with it myself when I first saw it 2 years ago and decided I must buy it. I don’t mind admitting that it was a fair old price but I have never regretted the extravagance. Well, when I have finished with it, I want you to have it. All my love: Auntie Annie”
I wonder whether there is anyone in Hodnet who can throw some light on the picture or the artist?
The painting is an oil on canvas and measures approximately 24×18 inches. The artist’s signature is enlarged below. Paddock was not necessarily from the Hodnet, though he may have been Shropshire based. (This author has found two references to paintings by him on the internet – one of English Bridge in Shrewsbury and a water colour of Llandudno.) However, if anyone can provide more information about him, or Fran’s painting, please email David and Fran.
Update Sept. 2017:
We have received a message from Jane Taylor who lived at RAF Shawbury in the early 1980s. She says that she commissioned Frank Paddock in 1982 to paint an old family farmhouse in Scotland from a photo. She still has the painting and on the back there is a telephone number and an address in Market Drayton, which we have passed on to Fran and David.
If anyone else has remembers Frank Paddock from that period, please get in touch.