Whilst I agree more with the point than the author’s way of making it, I signed this and hope you will too:

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The Walrus and the Carpenter

The painting of the Walrus and the Carpenter hung in the dining room of Gogarth Abbey Hotel for many years – check back here soon for some very exciting news of the original painting! This picture was taken whilst it was still in Gogarth.

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Gogarth Abbey Wine List

Here’s something different to the paintings but related to Gogarth Abbey Hotel – a recent find on eBay: an original Gogarth Abbey Hotel¬†Wine List, complete with wine listings still inside it. Dates from about 1990.

Fond memories of strolling into the dining room for dinner, to find the head waiter had left our red wine to warm in the sun on the far windowsill, lovely meal looking out over the sea and Snowdonia, coffee and mints in the lounge afterwards asking each other which of the pictures we would choose if we could!

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Paintings in Situ

Thanks to Nicola for providing this photograph that shows some of the paintings as they were displayed at Gogarth Abbey Hotel.

We would very much appreciate any photos other people may have of the pictures at Gogarth, please do email us copies so that we can show them here and build up a picture of how the paintings were ordered and displayed.

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The Very Beginning!

Happened across this text today! Its from Bryan’s Dictionary of Painters and Engravers (Volume 4), reproduced on the web here.

“OUSEY, BUCKLEY, painter of landscape and
figure subjects, was born at Stalybridge about
1851. Originally a weaver, he acquired by industry
a sound knowledge of drawing and painting.
Little is known of his early life. As a boy be
painted portraits at five shillings each, and used to
tell a story of one old woman who, on receiving
her portrait, asked, “Now, Mr. Ousey, is this a
real ile painting, will it waash ? ” In or before
1884 he removed to the Conway valley. In that
year he was resident at Roe-Wen, and sent to the
Liverpool Autumn Exhibition ‘ Salmon Fishers on
the Conway,’ 30, and ‘A Wood Nymph,’15 guineas.
During the short remainder of his life Ousey sent
every year to this Exhibition. The most important
of three pictures in 1885 was ‘Fishing-boats off
Puffin Island,’ 50 guineas. In 1885-7 he studied
for a year and a half at Antwerp under Verlat,
the requisite funds being advanced by a brother
artist. In 1887 he had removed to Conway, and
sent a large drawing, ‘Gipsy Hawkers,’ 65. In
1888 he made his only appearance at the Royal
Academy with an oil, ‘Lone Margin of the Sea,’
which was afterwards at the Liverpool Exhibition.
He died in 1889, leaving a widow and several
children. He was a member of the Royal Cambrian
Academy. Early in 1890 a memorial exhibition
of his works was held in Stalyhridge ; and in
connection with it his remaining works, with a
large number contributed by brother artists, were
disposed of by an Art Union for the benefit of his
family. Ousey was a singularly versatile painter,
with much facility of invention. His cleverness
is well shown by a large number of small decorative
panels which he executed for the Bellevue Hotel,
Trefriw. These are now in the Gogarth Abbey
Hotel, Llandudno. Those that illustrate Welsh
scenery show acute observation and a tine percep-
tion of choice colour. Others, which represent
Shakespearean characters and romantic imaginary
scenes, are the work of a man of considerable
reading and fertile invention. There can be little
doubt that Onsey, but for his premature death,
would have surmounted the drawbacks of his early
career and made a considerable reputation in art.”

So the paintings didn’t originate at Gogarth at all. This explains why the paintings are dated around 1887 and the panels from ten or so years later. It could also explain how the missing part of the collection (see earlier post) came to be separated.

It raises some other lines of enquiry, but more on those in later posts. For now, here is a picture of the Bellevue Hotel (now Princes Arms), Trefriw, North Wales, I think it was taken about the time of the Great War (click to enlarge).

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W J Jones 3 Chapel Street

This signature was found along with some others behind the oak panelling which housed the Ousey paintings in Gogarth Abbey Hotel / Penmorfa. The panels were built around 1900. Thanks to the members of the Llandudno Forum who contributed this information:

“This is an educated guess, based on the order of listings on Ancestry.
Number 3 Chapel Street appears to be “Longley House” occupied by Head of Household Catherine Jones, Widowed, age 53, Occupation Lodging House keeper, born in Holyhead.
There are two daughters Maggie 22, Assistant Lodging House Keeper and Kate 14.
There are two sons, one of whom is William J Jones age 18,Occupation, Joiner’s apprentice. Arthur age 16 is a Cabinet Makers apprentice.
There are also two boarders listed. Harry Walley age 26 from Hyde, Cheshire, Occupation Masseur and Medical Electrician (Own Account) and Thomas Parry 53 from Newmarket Flintshire, Occupation Stone Mason.”

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Gogarth, going, gone…

There’s not much we can say about the waste of this building, except perhaps that we believe a replica of the original Penmorfa should be constructed there, for all to enjoy.

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Beneath the Oak Picture Panels

This photo was taken immediately after the panels of paintings had been removed from Penmorfa. The previous wall decoration they were mounted over is clearly visible and indicates a drop toward what would at that time (about 1900) have been the front entrance. It’s highly likely that the wall decoration you’re looking at here is what Alice Liddell would have seen on her way in and out of the building.

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The Missing Part of the Collection

Whilst staying at the Gogarth Abbey hotel I was once informed by the owner and the head waiter that a relative of Buckley Ousey had an amount of paintings done at the same time as these equal to about a third of this collection. The lady in question had visited the hotel from Australia in recent times and had told them of this. I very much suspect that the lady in question is the Cath Bird mentioned in this article. If you are a relative of Cath’s or have any further information I’d love to hear from you.

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Gogarth Abbey Commemorative Postcard and Mousemat

Really enjoy creating these today, very pleased indeed with the result. Have never seen it done before…mixing photo and oil painting. First one sold on eBay for ¬£3.50 within twenty minutes of listing it, second listing scored the highest number of views per hour I’ve ever seen on one of my listings! The mousemats are the high quality type.

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