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Arthur John Crump

1867 - 1935

Although there is some doubt when Arthur Crump was born, looking on the 1881 census it states he was born circa, 1872. However, there was a John Crump born in 1869.

Arthur was born in Sussex, but returned to live in Hackney for his early youth. His father had died by this time, 1881. He was the 5th son in a family of 7 sons. His mother was a Londoner born in the City Road, his two eldest brothers Charles and Byron were both Irish Linen Drapers. There was an Aunt Ellen May living with them at No. 67, Morning Lane, Hackney. She was a needle woman.

The first that we know of Arthur was that he exhibited four oil paintings in the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) gallery in Piccadilly, one in 1896, two in 1897 and one in 1899. This cost him £10-10s each exhibit. All the pictures were of the same village, which was Chiddingstone in Kent. According to the archivist of the ROI, Arthur was never a member of this illustrious body of painters.

According to legend, circa 1913 Arthur was commissioned to make copies of several old masters, in the Tate Gallery, by a Gladys Fraser. After painting one of the pictures Arthur stopped painting and proceeded to slash the painting with his brush or palette knife. We have no proof of this at this time, but it is a strong Sherington legend. After this outburst Arthur’s family decided he should be sent away to the country. The Gardner family in Sherington were approached, and they accepted him as a paying guest and he lived as part of the family at Home Farm. Arthur was with them for several years in the 1920s. Some years later, it is suggested due to straightened financial circumstances, he was offered cheaper accommodation by Harry and Elizabeth West. This was a house situated on the Knoll.

By this time Arthur had allowed himself to become somewhat neglected, reclusive and withdrawn. He was also reduced to painting watercolour pictures for pocket money, ‘baccy’ money and beer money. He also became a figure of fun to the children, as eccentrics often do.

Then in 1934, as is inevitable, the fastidious villagers drew his plight to the attention of the health authorities, and under the pretext of neglect, he was taken away from his beloved Sherington to Stone Mental Asylum, near Aylesbury, where he died in August 1935. He was brought back and finally laid to rest in an unmarked grave in Sherington churchyard on August 30th 1935. He was 68 years old.

N.A.
4, 7, 2001.

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Examples of Arthur Crump's Paintings


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