Photo credit: Worcester Guildhall
The sitter's grave is in Smallcombe Garden cemetery in Bath. His family can be traced from this and maybe they know who the artist was.
Whilst the record previously recorded a death date of 1931, which led to linking this record to the theatre manager Sir Arthur Carlton (1865-1931), the painting clearly shows a sitter in mayoral robes, as one might expect for the Collection. The list of mayors of Worcester https://bit.ly/3kuAzG7 shows that an Arthur Carlton was mayor between 1916 and 1919 and 1922 to 1923, so this appears on first sight a different Arthur Carlton. The painting is signed and dated [?1918) in the bottom right hand corner, see attached image.
Different Arthur Carlton?
The theatre manager Sir Arthur Carlton was Alderman Sir Arthur Carlton CBE.
One and the same person, but an easy mistake to make.
The Era 27 May 1931 clears up the confusion.
• Acquisition method
Presented by the sitter to Worcester Guildhall on Monday 11th April 1921.
Carlton was knighted in 1924.
Sir Arthur presented a portrait in oils of himself to the City on 11 April 1921.
Unfortunately the report in the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette 16 April 1921 (attached) makes no mention of the artist.
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In 1917 Sir Arthur presented his predecessor Alderman H.A. Leicester with a portrait. (Birmingham Daily Post, 4 July 1917, attached)
Alderman Leicester promptly handed it back to the City. (Mrs Leicester was presented with a copy, so the original being handed back sounds pre-arranged).
Is the portrait of Ald. Leicester still in the Worcester Guildhall collection?
Is it, given the portraits are 1917 / 1918, possibly the same artist?
Attached is a photograph (although not the best quality) of Arthur Carlton in his robes of Office.
i) The New Mayor of Worcester - Rugby Advertiser, 20 October, 1922
Could it be that this portrait was painted by Leon John Sprink?
Does the signature say Leon Sprink?
The following is from some research I did last year…..
Leon John Sprinck was born in Rue St. Honour, Paris in abt 1865 (according to the naturalisation papers). It appears that his personal information can is sometimes be mixed up with the details of his father.
Leon Sprinck was the Son of John Louis and Wilhelmina Sprinck. John Louis was a Russian born, St. Petersberg trained Painter, who was also allegedley the Professor of Painting to the Imperial Court in St Petersberg.
Leon Sprinck was also a citizen of Norway before being naturalised as a British Citizen in 1898, as were his parents.*naturalisation papers attached*
He married His wife Emilie in 1898 and lived in Hampstead Heath, London.
Leon Sprinck was more well known for his oil portraits but also exhibited work pastels (his father had written pamphlets/books on using the media.
Perhaps worth noting that Sprinck painted Hubert Leicester, Mayor of Worcester immediately before Carlton https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/alderman-hubert-aloysius-leicester-18551939-52783/view_as/grid/search/makers:leon-sprinck-c18621948/page/1
Sprinck seems quite likely. The date, of course, is not "mid-20th C" as currently given.
Funnily enough, I have research for the Alderman Leicester portrait, as the information that was included in the above post was a part of the submission sent in in Sept 2019 as supporting evidence, for a proposal that the portrait of Alderman Leicester by an ‘Unknown Artist’ had been painted by Leon Spinck.
Leon Sprinck's signature is distinctive, An example from 1909 is here: https://www.walpoleantiques.com/portrait-leon-sprinck
(with an acute accent over the 'e' in Leon).
An example from 1915 can be seen here: https://www.antiques-atlas.com/antique/leon_sprinck_oil_helene_le_gonidec_de_traissan/as237a1034
(possibly with an acute accent).
In the detail image of the signature posted by David at the head of this discussion I discern a characteristic 'Sprinck', although not obviously the 'Leon'.
I think there is scope for re-examining Sprinck's birth date given as c.1862 on ArtUK and elsewhere. This presumably derives from Sprinck’s death record in the fourth quarter of 1948, in the Croydon registration district, where his age is stated as 86. Self-evidently, the number was not provided direct by Sprinck. However, the age of 33 as given in his naturalisation papers of 31 January/5 February 1898 is undersigned by Sprinck himself and the age of 44 on the census return of 1911 is written in his own hand and undersigned by him. To be 33 in January/February 1898 means he would have been born in 1864 or 1865, while to be 44 in (presumably June) 1911 means he would bave been born in 1866 or 1867. Although the naturalisation and census ages are unfortunately not consistent, I suggest it is more likely that Leon Sprinck was born between 1864 and 1867, than in c.1862.
In the census return of 1911 Sprinck signs himself with an acute accent over his first name. it is possible that he dropped the acute accent as the years passed.
I submitted much of the biographical information mentioned above for the Alderman Leicester painting. Should I post it again for this discussion?
I’ll have a check of the dates in my files.
I have attached the record for Léon John Sprinck in the “England, United Grand Lodge of England Freemason Membership Registers, 1751-1921” (on Ancestry). Initiation June 11, 1906. Age 39. Born in about 1867.
Thanks, Marcie. If Sprinck was 39 by June 1906 he would have been born in the second half of 1866 or the first half of 1867. I note the accented 'e' in his first name as recorded then.
And thanks, Elin: it would be interesting to see here your findings on Leon Sprinck. Despite his professional success, he features only slightly in the usual reference books -- largely, I think, because he rarely showed at the big public exhibitions.
An interview with Sprinck which says he was born in 1866:
To assist those who do not have access to Ancestry, I have attached the 1898 naturalization record (Leon John Sprinck) mentioned by Elin (2 files) and the 1911 Census of England return mentioned by Richard (Léon Sprinck).
Thanks, Marcie; and to Oliver for that fascinating record of the interview with Sprinck published on 19 November 1927. The most likely year of the artist's birth now seems to be 1866.
The article refers to Sprinck's first showing at the RA in 1893. That was a single exhibit - no.527, 'Louis Ries, Esq.', submitted from 4 Langham Chambers, Portland Place, London W. Not only was this Sprinck's only exhibit ever at the RA, but it would appear to be the only work he showed in a public exhibition in London. However, between that year and 1903 he did exhibit two items at the Walker Art Gallery (presumably in one or two of the Liverpool Autumn Exhibitions) and one work at the Royal Hibernian Academy [information from the Johnson/Greutzner dictionary].
‘A Guide to Pastel Painting’ by J. L. Sprinck (the artist's father), mentioned in the article, was published by George Rowney & Co. (supplier of artists' materials) in 1889, with many subsequent editions. By the time of the sixth edition, 1910, a chapter by Leon Sprinck, 'How to Paint a Head in Pastel’, had been added [information from Abebooks].