The House that Atkins Painted

Art of the Waterways: NarrowBoat, Summer 2007

Harry Arnold

Harry Arnold recalls a remarkable canalside house, decorated by “one of the finest folk artists of the canals”

I enjoyed Brian Collins’ feature on traditional painting (Spring 2007 NarrowBoat) and was intrigued to see the picture of the Polesworth castle at the bottom of page 16, which is captioned as “on what was probably a practice piece or demonstration panel on hardboard”. This was possibly part of the decoration of what was described as a ‘boathouse’, which stood facing the Ashby Canal in the garden of Snarestone Lodge, just above the tunnel. On 5th September 1973, Tony Lewery and I were invited by owner Travers Lisney to look at this boathouse and a number of pieces of traditional canal painting that he owned. The house was quite amazing in that, for instance, the panelled doors in the kitchen were decorated with Polesworth castles and there was a Nurser can actually propping one of these doors open. Apart from the waterway items, he also had a number of examples of historic transport items in the yard, including a magnificent showman’s caravan. The b…

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