Saturday in the Museum with Frank

Image: Frank C. Ward, Supper, 1943.

As we near the end of the year and soon close out our theme of communal eating for this year’s Saturday art posts, we came across one that matches this week’s commemoration of Veterans Day.

The work if from Frank C. Ward, a British artist. Born if Suffolk, the fourth of nine children to a grocer, he attended Ipswich Art School and then gained admittance to Royal College of Art where he studied from 1933 to 1936. He found employment at a grammar school, where he worked, with the exception of the war years, until 1974.

He might have gained greater acclaim had he been better at self-promotion, but he instead believed his wife, Kathleen Walne, was the true talent. They had met at Ipswich. Ward’s mentor worried the young woman would distract him, having seduced him with cream donuts, which we don’t believe was a euphemism. It is said that once a student in London he took several of her works to galleries in the West End of London in an attempt to gain recognition. It worked. Kathleen was employed and shown by a gallery. The couple scraped together a living in Chelsea and eventually found some acclaim, Kathleen more than Frank He died in 1998. Walne lived in to her 90s and died in 2011.

During the war, Ward was assigned to the 6 Army Group Royal Artillery, where his work was primarily of topographical preparations for heavy bombardments, which he noted had to be exact or you could hit your own troops. He did other sketches as well, including one with a visiting Churchill and a general. This work is from 1943. It is in the collection of the Imperial War Museum.


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