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JAMES WILLIAM WINTERBOTTOM
(21.02.24 - 12.06.05)

See examples of his work at WINT's COURSE - "Larger than Life" and Paintings by James Winterbottom

It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Wint after a long illness. There was a private funeral and then a memorial service attended by many friends and family members. The service was conducted by Reverend Dr. Stephen F. Brian and included several readings by family and members of the community with a tribute by the actor Ian Cullen, who knew Wint very well. He spoke of Wint's good work for the arts in the locality of Surrey Heath and, in particular of the bursary in the name of James Winterbottom. Music was provided by Elizabeth May, a recipient of funds from the bursary, and a quartet of singers. Laurie Smith was the organist.
[Miriam Jory]

Recollections of "Wint"

from - Rick Beament - Rose Farmer - Mim Jory - Maureen Hayward - Brian Richardson - David Painting - Liz and Gerry Seward
Wint Rose Farmer remembers:

I first met Wint when the Art Society merged with the orignal Friday Group at the Adult Education Studio many years ago.It was intimidating at first knowing very little of him other than that he was Head of the Fine Art Department at Farnham Art College.

His first question was to ask which artist's work I most admired, which was difficult to answer as my knowledge of art history at that time would not have covered a postage stamp. For the Friday night meetings he would give us a theme or set up a still life from his astonishingly wide and varied collection of objects which included dried sunflowers, fruit, pots, vases, baby shoes and even porcelain electrical insulators collected in France when the power distribution system was modernised.

Wint was a very kindly man, rarely judgemental, and always ready to encourage and broaden one's outlook on painting. I know I am not alone in remembering Wint's "rule of thumb". After a quiet perusal of a piece of work, the part not quite as it should be would be covered with his thumb, then of course one could see where one had gone wrong. We were lucky too that he would put on occasional slide shows and his knowledge of whichever artist's work he was showing was tremendous. He was a very talented man and I shall always value time spent in his teaching and remember him with affection

Rick Beament remembers:
I came across your website today, 7/7/08, and it brought back floods of memories of my childhood and I just wanted to drop you a quick line to say how glad I am that the FCSA is still thriving.

My mum, Kay, was the Hon. Sec. of FCSA for many years in the earlier years of the society and I have fond memories of many of the earlier members and even doing a couple of stints as a life model when it was in its original locations, first at Hillside, behind the police station, then later above the museum on the site of the Borough Council offices.

The scanned copy of the first exhibition programme has a number of names that I remember well, simply because the art society was such a big family back then and we all seemed to visit each others homes as a result of art ! I particularly remember dear Henry Biggs, who was, at least partly responsible for the fact that I now live in Devon - he had a holiday home not far from where I live now - but, more than that, he was such a kind and warm man with great knowledge and a willingness to share it. I remember Jenny Cracknell, Roy Galley, Leo Robinson, and especially Graham Scandrett who struggled as my art teacher at France Hill School for a term.

Mostly, I must say I remember Wint with great fondness - Mum and I often visited him at his house in Bagshot, and, again, I remember what a kindly man he was, and such an inspiration to my mum's own art, so would like to add my thoughts now that he has, regrettably passed-away. Although I was only a child at the time, it was my mum's interest in art and the FCSA that has, to a degree, enabled me to have an appreciation of art in its broadest sense, although I am no proponent of the skill, so I would like to take this opportunity of wishing FCSA and all its members good luck for the future and long may the society prosper.

Mim Jory remembers:
Wint became our president in 1996 on the death of Sir Carel Weight RA who had been president since the founding of the Society. Wint had been our Friday evening tutor since 1966, a role he was invited to take on because, as Head of the Fine Art Department at Farnham College of Art and Design, he was considered to have the high professional standards and necessary in-depth ability and knowledge of art and the great artists to teach and enthuse our members.

Over the years Wint "interviewed" many new members to ascertain their style and method of working and would want to know who their favourite artists were. He liked to see examples of their work to form an idea of what they could do. One felt very gratified to "pass this test" then be able to relax and join in the spirit of Friday evenings! Wint's love of great art was infectious and he encouraged us to think more about what we were trying to achieve. He was fond of comparing painting with music and would sometimes "sing the rhythm" in a painting which would have us all smiling.

Wint had access to vast quantities of a wide variety of objects, including some treasured items borrowed from his wife, Michaeleen, from which he would set up still-life groups for us to paint. First he would talk on the subject, illustrating his points from books, and then set us to work hard to do what was needed. Many will have the results of these exercises in their sketch books as a reminder of all that he taught.

Wint always attended our Christmas Parties with Michaeleen and once said that he thought we should all arrive in fancy dress! He enjoyed meeting us socially and the atmosphere was always warm and jolly in the candlelit studio.

Unfortunately, Wint became ill in 2001 since when he has been sorely missed on Friday evenings by all who have known him, some for many years, not only for his tutoring but for his sense of fun and his passion for the arts and his great personality.

Maureen Hayward remembers:
Over the past 20 years or so I have learned a great deal from Wint. To me he was an Artist in the true sense of the word. He wasn't interested in gimmicks or techniques - he was a purist.

I miss his projects which gave our Friday evenings focus and he always made time to talk to us about Art, Art History or the Old Masters before we began. He also liked to compare composition within a painting with musical compositions.

To me his presence made the FCSA unique.

Brian Richardson remembers:
When I joined the Society in 1982 almost the first person to speak to me was Wint. He asked me which artists I liked and if I had any examples of work to show him, which I hadn't. So he set up a little still life group and got me to draw it so that he could assess my ability. He seemed reasonably satisfied with what I produced.

He did not teach us in the sense of group instruction in technique although he was always willing to give individuals advice if it was sought. I particularly valued his talks and slide shows on the great artists and their works and I feel that that is something the Society misses out on these days.

I remember when he was commissioned to produce a painting to be displayed in Frimley Park Hospital and how he would discuss his approach to the project with us and show us sketches of his proposal which turned out to be a most beautiful triptych which is seen daily by the many visitors, staff and patients who traverse the main corridor or eat in the refreshment bar of FPH.

David Painting remembers:
I knew Wint for many years during which he always appeared calm and business like. On Friday evenings he taught us about drawing, composition and colour relationships that we had missed at school or to which we had not paid attention when we should.

Wint used to arrive with a cornucopia of odds and ends, a lot of which looked like junk, but he knew the story of every piece. It would be arranged in the form of still life groups on tables and he would detail the evening's project. Then we would start and the hush of concentration would be broken only by the squeak of pencils and the sound of erasers being used as we set off on a voyage of discovery. After a while Wint appeared at your side, "how are you doing?" he would say looking at your work, "that's good" might be the comment. Then a few searching questions would expose your failings, well mine anyway. Then he would quietly say "have you tried it this way?" and with a few deft lines on a piece of paper would show how a mediocre effort could be transformed into a half decent evening's work. His enthusiasm was boundless and he attended all the Christmas parties, barbecues, and other functions of the Society. I consider it a privilege to have known Wint and to have benefited from his expertise, experience and teaching skills.

Liz and Gerry Seward remember:
Nobody who was taught or advised by Wint will forget the phenomenon of "Wint's thumb". With an unerring eye for harmony in both composition and colour he would examine a work that had been giving a great deal of grief and consternation to its creator and, by covering the offending part with his thumb, show the way out of the difficulty.

Wint was a man of enormous presence. The moment he arrived the company was complete and soon his infectious laughter would fill the room. As a tutor he was generous in his encouragement without being dogmatic about rights and wrongs. His teaching had great depth allied as it was to an historical perspective; if Wint approved, you knew you had done well and had moved forward. Unlike so many other tutors, he had no need to impress his own ego on you, he was only interested in your development as an artist.

There are so many memories of Wint that it is hard to single out just a few. Gerry remembers him as he wrote cheques in the shop, taking his time to complete them in beautiful script, a work of art in its own right. I can remember the delight of my daughters (and myself) when he arrived at our house one Christmas Day dressed in full Father Christmas outfit to deliver our Christmas card. With flowing locks and a beard he was a natural. For many years the Society's Christmas party would not be complete without Wint and Michaeleen arriving with a big basket of homemade bread and as far as I can remember he never once missed an AGM.

Wint will be greatly missed and the world will be poorer without his kindness and generosity.

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