Watercolour, 1952

Walter Hoyle (1922 – 2000) visited Sicily in August 1951 in the company of fellow artist, Edward Bawden. Both found the heat and dust almost unbearable and eventually took refuge up in the mountains at Enna.

On their return to England, Hoyle was invited to Great Bardfield for the day by Bawden, who suggested that Hoyle should take up residence in the village. An afternoon bike ride ensued, during which Bawden showed him the cottage at Great Lodge Farm, on the outskirts, which he knew was vacant.

Hoyle remarked: ‘The cottage was a single storey L-shaped building of five rooms. The present use of the cottage was for rearing day-old chicks, and in general, it was in bad condition. There were no services of any kind, no water, electricity or bathroom.’

Hoyle was offered the property rent-free for seven years, in return for making it habitable and described his relocation as ‘the beginning of a new way of life, and I never regretted making the move.’ He painted several watercolours of the house and the surrounding countryside and took advantage of its proximity to Great Bardfield, first participating in the celebrated ‘open house’ days in 1954.

In Great Lodge Farm Cottage, Great Bardfield, the milkman arrives with his delivery and a second-hand gas lamp and Staffordshire figure are seen on the window sill.

Purchased by the Fry art Gallery Society