Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Charles Bartley son of Robert Bartley and Esther Kerby

We are continuing our introduction to the children of Robert Bartley and Esther Kerby.

We have no images and scant information concerning Charles, their fourth child.

It would be wonderful to hear from a researcher who is able to tell us more about this family.

Charles Bartley was born at home in Chapel St, Auckland on the 13 January 1856. This was the family’s second year in Auckland after their arrival from Jersey, Channel Islands.

As his father and brother had done, Charles became a builder. About 1885 he married Letitia Jane GEE. She was the eldest of seven children born to Thomas Gee and Jane GOW. Thomas was a coach builder in Auckland.

Obituary for Letitia's father NZH 07 July 1902

Charles and Letitia moved to Richmond Rd after their marriage. Their family included Winifred Esther (b1886), Dulcibel Gee (b 1887) and Harry Mervyn (b1894).

Birth notice for Winifred AES 2 Feb 1886

Winifred married Alex MCLELLAN in 1914. Dulcie married, after the war ,to Thomas Henry PEARCE in about 1920.

Harry's death in 1944 was unexpected NZH 14 July 1944

Charles Bartley died at Matai Rd, Greenlane, Auckland in January 1926. Letitia passed away in 1939.
AES 29 January 1926

Edwin Bartley Artist, son of Robert Bartley and Esther Kerby

South Island Mountain Range

Edwin, son of Robert Bartley and Esther Kerby, was born at home in Nelson St, Auckland on 27 September 1870.[i] He showed early promise as an artist.
His first formal tutoring outside his immediate family circle was with Frank and Waiter Wright, at Wright's Studio in Victoria St, Auckland. He became a member of the Auckland Society of Arts. This organisation grew out of the Society of Artists, of which his uncle Edward Bartley was a founder member. 
Edwin's drawing skills received favourable comment in the 1891 ASA annual competition when he entered a sketch from a bust in the amateur and students category. He entered work in both watercolour and oils in 1892 and 1893. The reviews of his work show him developing confidence as a colourist. In 1893 his work won a silver medal for the special award of 'second best work in the whole competition, with colour'. [ii] 
It was his talent for drawing and draughtsmanship which drew him into his future career as an illustrator. As far as we are aware his first formal employment was with the New Zealand Herald.

 During the latter part of the 1890's Edwin moved to Christchurch. He was employed by the Lyttelton Times in 1898,as draughtsman and designer on their evening paper ‘The Star’. The job also involved design and illustration for clients using the lithographic printing services of the company. It also allowed plenty of opportunity to build on his interest in photography.

The Star 6 April 1898

One of the first organisations Edwin joined after his move to Christchurch was the Canterbury Society of Arts.[iii] The CSA was formed at a meeting on 30 June 1880. The inaugural exhibition was held in June of the following year. Bartley is recorded as a working member from 1899. He took evening classes and regularly entered the annual competitions for drawing, watercolour, oils and for what we would call graphic design today.

One design competition developed the flavour of a newpaper contest. The 1898 catalogue design was won by the Christchurch Press, but Edwin would return in following years to better his result.

CHP 7 May 1898

Edwin also joined a more informal grouping, the Christchurch Artist's Club which met regularly for sketching and drawing.
PA COLL 5374-2 Edwin is second from left, partly obscured by the model's fan, in this 1912 record of the sketching group.
 Photography and amateur dramatics were also interests of Edwin's. He made lasting friendships amongst those like minded people he met in Canterbury.

In March 1910 Edwin finalised arrangements for his trip to England.

CHP 5 May 1910

CHP 5 April 1910

The trip had a definite flavour of professional development for Edwin. 
He booked to receive tuition from G Sheridan Knowles, an academic painter who specialised in the idealised and sentimental subjects so popular in the Victorian period. He was academically trained and somewhat influenced by Impressionist techniques. Most importantly for Edwin, Knowles' strength was as a colourist who selectively employed the latest approaches in brushwork. He was both an exhibiting member of the Royal Society of British Artists and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour, and of Oils. 
Signing the marriage contract. Signed and dated G.Sheridan Knowles/1905. Oil on canvas. 61 x 101.6 cm. Image Bonhams

Edwin would not be breaking any barriers into the avant-garde in Europe. Indeed there is no indication that he ever had any inclination to do so. Although his career takes him well into the twentieth century, his life and work is essentially Victorian in character.

London News in the Press, 2 March 1911
His nephew Harry Rountree was already becoming well known as an illustrator of advertising and children's literature. Harry was the younger by eight years but he had already benefited from greater means and the opportunities offered by his residence in England. 

Edwin married Gertrude Amelia Featherstone in 1915. Ethel, as she was known, was a daughter of Henry Ashford Featherstone and Matilda Pearce, both of Hobart.

During and after the war Edwin is listed in Wise's Directory as an artist resident in Christchurch, suggesting he was living by his painting and illustrating rather than outside employment
One publication he illustrated was well known to Girl Guide and Scouts families. This was Lieut-Colonel Cossgrove's 'Nga toro turehu: the Fairy Scout of New Zealand' published in 1918 by the Lyttleton Times.
Hocken hold examples of Edwin's work. The watercolours purchased by the CSA were transferred to the McDougall in 1989.
To view further examples of Edwin's work see:

[i] NZRBDM 1870/15435; DSC 29 Sept 1870
[ii]  NZH 25 Feb 1893. Also refer Nineteenth Century Artists - a Handbook. Note birth date is incorrect.  nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/name-124560.html
[iii] working member CSA 1899-1900, 1903-1905, 1907-1908, 1910, 1912-15, 1917-1919, 1921-1922, 1924-1942

Edwin's work features in CSA Jubilee Catalogue 1881-1930
82 A Rocky Glen
370 Near Twickenham Ferry

CSA 1927 Cat
224 B'limits Arthurs Pass
265 Lake Guyon
310 Spencer Range Ada Valley

CSA 1928 Cat
4 The Terrace
16 Autumn Tints
210 The Flooded Stream

CSA 1932 Cat
270 Mt Roon, Franz Josef Glacier
184 Autumn Tints