My mother is from Warwickshire. Her family included designers and engineers in steel, artists in fabric design, and all were talented amateur artists. This is what one part of the family did and I could always see myself doing the same. As a child, I looked in wonder at my great grandfather S J Lenton’s water colours and still do.
Born in Durham, my father lived in Scotland from an early age. His mother was from a family of fishermen and boat builders from East Lothian and Fife, and his father from County Durham. He was a craftsman in wood, beginning his working life as a joiner but eventually becoming a gifted cabinet maker. We still have a bed-head he made which features his meticulous wood-carving.
He died in a motor accident in the twenties leaving my Granny with three children to bring up. Despite the hardship, she saw all of them graduate from Edinburgh University. My father's degree was in chemistry and I grew up with thoughts of doing the same, hence my choice of sciences over art. However I knew that making beautiful things was also on my Dad's side of the family, especially fishing boats. Their graceful curving lines have influenced some of my work.
St. Michael's Mount. Watercolour by Sydney J Lenton 1919
Painted as one of three for my Grandmother,
Margaret Jarman as was, a wedding present.