This afternoon we welcomed the Kirkby family from Guildford on their first visit to St Jude's. Norman Kirkby, seen here with Kathy and their daughter Abigael, is the great nephew of Walter Starmer the painter of the murals in the church. The family have a considerable collection of works by Starmer including several of St Jude's that we had never seen before.
Photo by Richard Wakefield
They were also able to tell us many biographical details which were new to us, not least that the man we always call Walter Starmer was known to the family as 'Percy'. We were only aware of one photograph of the artist until today; now we can share several:
Starmer as the war artist who met the first vicar, Basil Bourchier, in France.
A young Starmer at work in St Jude's.
One of Starmer's later commissions at St Jude's was the west window in memory of Bourchier. Here is a coloured sketch of the window (note the word 'Inscription' for the presumably as yet undecided text). We have an uncoloured version with the text in the vestry.
The west end as it was for only a few months before the window was installed.
Starmer at work on the full size design for the window.
Starmer and Bourchier with the Bishop of Willesden and the Mayor of Westminster at St Anne's, Soho (where Bourchier was Rector after he left St Jude's in 1929). This window by Starmer was destroyed in the Second World war.
Three photographs showing Starmer at work on the restoration of the murals at the Chandos Mausoleum at St Lawrence Whitchurch (Little Stanmore).
And as President of the Watford Art Society.
All Starmer photographs courtesy of the Kirkby family.