Royal School of Needlework

When Paine returned to London from California in 1931 he ‘resumed private practice and research work’ (Paine’s CV).   In addition he was appointed visiting teacher at the Blackheath School of Art*, where the part-time Principal (1929-39) was his friend, John Platt.   This appointment terminated on the outbreak of war in 1939 when the school was taken over by the Army.

In 1932 Paine was appointed to reorganise the Training School Design and Drawing classes at the Royal School of Needlework, a task completed in 1934.   John Platt, was instrumental in obtaining the appointment.   Paine expressed his gratitude with this cartoon of himself, crowned with triumph, plying a needle at a sewing frame.

* For an excellent account of Paine’s work at the Blackheath School of Art see the BSA historian and archivist’s blog:

Charles Paine cartoon thanks for Royal College of Needlework job

(Reproduced by kind permission of the estate of John Platt.)

I have no further information regarding Paine’s work at the RSN.   The study for the first greetings telegram (cf. posts October 17, 2017;  October 20 2017) indicates that he retained a connection through the 1930s.

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Charles Paine was born at 25 Charles Street, at Pendleton in the district of Salford, in Lancashire, on 23 October 1895.   His twin brother, Ernest, died in December 1896.   Another sibling also died.   His sister, Gertrude, was born at Pendleton in 1889.   Paine said that he was so small at birth he would have fitted into a milk jug.      He described himself as a ‘mischievous person’ who enjoyed life and worked hard.    As a boy he was constantly getting into trouble.   He used to walk home from school along a canal and sit on horse-drawn barges and travel many miles from home.   His mother, Fanny Godwin, probably from a farming family at Macclesfield, was born in 1861.   She married Charles Paine Senior at Salford in 1888.   She died at Carshalton in Surrey in 1935.  The 1911 census records her as Head of the household aged 48 while he was ‘out of the country on business’.     Charles Paine (1895-1967) circa 1908 DONE

Paine’s father, Charles, was the manager of an India Rubber works though the 1891 census gives his occupation as ‘commercial traveller/manager of rubber works’. According   to  his third wife (Joan Jefferies née Bolshaw), Charles senior was a strict Methodist and a man with no feeling for art.   He expected his son to go into the rubber business but Paine wanted to be an artist.   His uncle showed some of his drawings to Gordon Forsyth, art director of Pilkington’s Tile and Pottery Company at Clifton in Greater Manchester and later Director of the Burslem School of Art, who was favourably impressed.   Paine’s uncle went to see his father, presumably to persuade him to allow his son to study art, and was ordered out of the house.                                                                                 Charles Paine circa 1906/7

At 16 Paine enrolled at the Salford School of Art under Messrs. P. J. J. Brooks and B. D. Taylor, where he was apprenticed to the craft of making stained glass.   He also attended evening classes at the Manchester Municipal School  of Art under Richard Glazier.   The 1911 census records him as an ‘art student’.   In 1915 he graduated from Salford to study at the Royal College of Art in London.   At the R.C.A. his ability was recognised and he was awarded a National Scholarship, a precursor of a grants scheme.    In 1916 Paine was living at 11 North View, Brentham, Ealing W.  In that year he first exhibited at the Royal Academy, a design for a stained glass window.

His father refused to pay for his training or to have anything more to do with him and eventually left all his money to a niece, most probably Gwendoline Worthington, who remained unmarried and died at Lytham St. Annes in 1949.   After he left home Paine never saw his father again.   His father died in 1940.   It is unclear how Paine’s art education was paid for though he was given some financial support at the RCA under a scheme that was the precursor of the government grant scheme.   (I need some clarity on this.)

Christmas Social Dramatic Feb 1916 CP seated 2nd from right

Christmas Social 1916 Royal College of Art

(Paine seated 2nd from right.   Others unknown.)

Paine spent a total of six terms at the R.C.A. between October 1915 and 4th July 1919 and graduated with the degree A.R.C.A.   His studies were interrupted by the War when in 1917 he was conscripted into the Admiralty Inspection Section.   He was said to have learned a lot about gun cotton.   One anecdote survives from that time.   When the war ended he was in a car going past the famous ‘Cat & Fiddle’ near Buxton, the second highest pub in England, with ‘a dull admiral’.  The admiral exclaimed, ‘Hurrah!   Hurrah!’ which Paine evidently found very amusing.   He never took himself too seriously and was amused by pomposity in others.

On 1st July 1920 Paine married Marian (‘Marie’) Jane Nelson at St. Stephen’s Green Church in Dublin, an Irishwoman aged 30 whom he probably met in Glasgow.*  The Irish conductor and composer Havelock Nelson (1917-1996) was her nephew.   Paine’s mother, Fanny, was a witness.   His residence is given as Burwin, Accresfield Road, Pendleton Manchester.   They had one child, a son, Charles Nelson Paine.     It was not a happy marriage.   The story was told that while he was out one Sunday Maria’s sister and her husband came to visit.   Paine was painting a portrait and his brother-in-law (cf. post December 17, 2017) drew a moustache on it.   This, apparently, was the last straw.   Paine packed up and left.   Nelson was six or seven years old and lived in straitened circumstances with his mother at Dunlaogherie.  Thereafter he had very little connection with his father.

Following his graduation from the R.C.A. in 1919, aged 24, CP was appointed Head of the Department of Applied Arts at Edinburgh College of Art with the brief of re-organising the department, the beginning of a distinguished career.


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The Stevensons Waikiki AT WAIKIKI, HAWAII

      Front row (left to right):  Ah Foo, the cook, R.L.S., Mrs. R.L.S., Lloyd Osbourne               Standing:  Mrs. M.I. Stevenson, and Isabel Osbourne (Teuila)

This Life I've Loved

‘Teuila’* was the familiar name by which Isobel Osbourne, the step-daughter of Robert Louis Stevenson, was known in Samoa.   Her mother Fanny Osbourne married Stevenson in 1880.   The last years of his life were spent at Vailima in Samoa where he settled in 1890.   Teuila’s luminous autobiography, This Life I’ve Loved (Michael Joseph 1937), describes the rich and exciting life there.   She was Stevenson’s secretary for four years until his death in 1894.

*  ‘Teuila’ is pronounced ‘chewila’ with the emphasis on the first syllable.   It means the flower of the Samoan ginger plant.

Isobel Osbourne at Monterey Artwork by Joseph Strong

Following her mother’s death in 1914 she married the author, poet, playwright and journalist, Edward ‘Ned’ Salisbury Field (1878-1936).   Field was an employee and friend of William Randolph Hearst   He made drawings for Hearst newspapers, signing them ‘Childe Harold’.   As a young news man in his 20’s, Field became the secretary, protégé and possibly lover of Fanny Stevenson (who was 38 years older), after the death of her husband.    After Fanny’s death in 1914, Field married her daughter Isobel Osbourne (‘Teuila’), who was 20 years his senior.  He became  a  successful  Southern  California  real  estate   developer.   In  the  1920’s  oil  was  discovered  on  some of his  property which made them wealthy.

Isabel Osbourne at Monterrey

by Joseph Strong

'Allen Herbert's House', 1896 watercolor by Isobel Osbourne, Honolulu Academy of Arts

Allen Herbert’s House 1896

Watercolour by Isobel Osbourne, Honolulu Academy of Arts

Mrs. Field (Isobel ‘Belle’ Osbourne 1858-1953) was an accomplished artist who continued to study the craft throughout her life.   She attended Paine’s popular art classes at the Community Arts in Santa Barbara (cf. post November 26, 2017) during the nineteen-twenties.

Isdobel Field 1937

Isobel Field 1937

In 1926 the Fields purchased Zaca Lake and surrounding land on Figueroa Mountain near Los Olivos.   Isobel built an artist’s studio at Serena and the Field home became a popular meeting place for writers and actors.   Paine designed a stained glass window for the house which may still be there.   He also helped Mrs. Field to design and execute some murals, giving advice by letter from England.

Mrs. Salisbury Field 'Teuila'

                                           Mrs Salisbury Field                                                

(From a painting by Alfred Herter)

Mrs. Field was greatly impressed by Paine and evidently thought him a genius.   In a letter dated 25 September 1937 she wrote, ‘I can’t understand why you haven’t a crowded class – there never lived anyone who could teach so well – for you some way arouse enthusiasm not only in those who want to draw – but in the pupils who are sent to your class by their parents and arrive perfectly dull and unresponsive’.

Elsewhere she refers to his ‘great and glorious talent –  not  only   to   create beauty but to inspire others’ (13 December 1936).   And again, ‘In the old days when genius was recognised you’d have been given a Cathedral and told to go ahead and decorate it …’   (25 September 1937)    In 1948 she sent Paine her note-book, her ‘Precious Book’.   She wrote, ‘This little book has been treasured by me all these years’.   The  ‘Precious Book’, inscribed ‘What I learned from Mr. Paine’ is now lodged with the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh together with the seventeen letters she wrote to Paine between 1936 and 1948.   (cf. post 17 November 2018)

Teuila Fortune Telling Cards — 1899/1923

In 1937 Teuila sent Paine a pack of her tarot cards as a present for Anna.   His third wife, used them to tell fortunes, guests frequently being entertained with a ‘cut of cards’.  They are now owned by Joan Paine’s daughter.

Teuila Fortune Telling cards

The cards were made by the U.S. Playing Card Co. in Cincinnati, Ohio.   The instruction sheet says they are copyright 1897-1904; they were first published in 1899.   There are 45 cards in the deck (not 35 as stated in the advertisement); plus 7 with instructions, including a Life Card and an advertising card for the company that isn’t used as part of a reading (it functions as a joker if you’re using the deck for playing cards; evidently the Life Card would be the other joker).

Teuila Fortune Telling Cards Designs

During her time in Hawaii, Mrs. Field (then married to the artist, Joseph Strong), became a friend of King Kalakaua.   In her autobiography she says, ‘When the Queen gave a garden party at Iolani Palace, often for the benefit of some charity, I was always asked to tell fortunes.   On the backs of my calling cards, I had drawn and painted little symbols – a horseshoe for luck, a bee to signify work, a heart for love, etc.   These cards were the beginning of my Teuila Fortune Telling Cards.’

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JERSEY Post Cards

A number of Paine’s works were issued as post cards during the 1950’s.   The original for ‘Jersey born and bred’ was in acrylic.   The breakwater extending from left to right is a familiar Paine compositional device.   Other examples include ‘Tramore Cove’ and ‘Geoffrey’s Leap’.

Jersey Born and Bred - post card Cow

The scene is loosely based on St Catherine’s Breakwater, but the background coastline is misleading.   France is 15 miles away, and the rocks in between, the Ecrehous reef, are seven miles off-shore.  The lighthouse looks overlarge for the tiny metal tower that once stood there, long since replaced by something more modern.

The cow is recognizably a Jersey but with exaggerated features.   The tradition was to peg a cow in a field to restrict grazing, as over-rich grass could cause problems.   The animal shown is obviously young with tiny horns and so unlikely to have been pegged out.

One would not see waves rolling in as shown, except in violent storms, and whilst it is a popular place for sailing, there is no beach to run ashore on.   The stylised farm buildings could be shown in pink granite, but that is not the rock used for the breakwater which is made of a grey conglomerate, quarried very locally.   The rock-face on the left represents the cliff from which some of the stone was cut – and which remains alongside the road.  Below it the rows of plants with sticks could be tomatoes which used to be cultivated outdoors – but not alongside this seashore.

The buildings do not exist as shown but are rather a symbolic representation of local architecture of the 19th century as in the arched entrance to the barn.   The very strange chimney is meant to show jutting stones which were traditionally used on chimney stacks to stop rain getting in to a thatched roof.   The technique continued with slates.  The circular structure is a cider apple-crusher, the mill-stone pulled around by a horse, and the pulp transferred to a large press, weighed down with a heavy wooden beam, this second process taking place inside the building.   We may imagine that the artist worked from photographs to create a composite of the various things shown, perhaps tinged with a rose-tinted memory.

(The foregoing description courtesy of the Jersey Historical Society)

Study for 'Jersey born and bred' post card  Study for 'Jersey born and bred' post card 2  Study for 'Jersey born and bred' post card 3 Pencil studies for ‘Jersey born and bred’

Jersey Cow Paine stylisedThis stylised Jersey cow is of unknown date and purpose.   Possibly for an advertisement.

At least five of Paine’s watercolours were included in the post card series.

Jersey post card seriea CP - Entrance to the main gate Mont Orgueil castleGatehouse, Mont Orgueil Castle, Gorey

Jersey post card series Paine Queen Elizabeth Gate, Mt. Orgeuil CastleQueen Elizabeth Gate, Mont Orgueil Castle, Gorey

Jersey post card series CP - S. Mary'sCrypt c.12th century, Mt. Orgueil CastleSt. Mary’s Crypt, Mont Orgueil Castle, Gorey

Jersey post card series CP - Gorey pier and lighthouseGorey Pier

Jersey post card series CP - Geffroi's Leap and S. Catherine's BreakwaterGeoffrey’s Leap and St. Catherine’s Breakwater




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JERSEY Watercolours

Joan Paine said that Paine regarded himself as primarily a watercolourist and it seems that was the genre he most enjoyed.   In 1948 Teuila wrote, “How I wish I could see your water colours of Ireland!”   Tramore Cove (County Waterford) was exhibited at the Royal Academy (1037) in 1959, displayed on an easel on the main staircase.     It was priced at 50 guineas and remained unsold.


Tramore Cove, County Waterford

Paine’s need to earn a living by teaching and producing commercial art resulted in a small body of such work.   When he was more at leisure in Jersey he painted a series of watercolours that were issued as post cards, several of them of Mount Orgueil Castle at Gorey.

St. Mary's Crypt Gorey Castle 13 x 10 insSt. Mary’s Crypt, Gorey Castle

Gorey Castle GateGorey Castle Gate

Gorey Castle GatehouseQueen Elizabeth Gate, Gorey Castle

A Gorey PierGorey Pier

Anne Port Jersey PaineGeoffrey’s Leap and St. Catherine’s Breakwater

Paine titled this painting ‘Anne Port’.

Auray, France, watercolour Paine 1944Auray, Brittany, dated 1944

Auray is inland from the south coast of Brittany roughly half way between Brest and Nantes.   It seems very unlikely that Paine would have been able to go there in 1944.   For most of that year Brittany was under German occupation.

Boat yard Watercolour Jersey 1950's.Jersey Boat Yard 1950’s

Members of the Jersey Historical Society tried to locate the yard and suggested that it shows ‘the boat privately built [as a retirement project] by Commander [Norman] Hall RNVR.   He lived initially above St. Aubin but later … at St. Ouen.’   Paine may well have known him.

Fisherman's house July 1959 PaineFisherman’s Cottage July 1959

Location unknown, possibly at Trinity.   It is a typical building of its type.

Jersey Farm Watercollour sketch PaineJersey Farm (watercolour sketch)

Jersey View Watercolour sketch PaineJersey View

Boat in dock possibly 'Sorcini'Possibly ‘Sorcini’

Anna Paine owned a boat called ‘Sorcini’ which may be the one depicted here.   The initial ‘J’ on the boat is part of the registration, and would be followed by a number – used on all registered fishing boats.  The boat is definitely in Jersey, probably at Gorey, as the Island is subject to one of the greatest tidal ranges in the world – 38′ or 12 metres.   So the ‘legs’ that are shown had to be fitted on when the boat was in harbour to prop it up, sitting on the sand, as the tide ebbed.   (Information courtesy of the Jersey Historical Society)


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In 1948 or shortly before, Paine’s wife, Anna, bought a house in Jersey – No. 7 Gorey Pier. They were to spend the rest of their lives in Jersey.

-Projection: Equirectangular (2)
FOV: 151 x 85
Ev: 13.49

Mt. Orgueil Castle overlooking Gorey harbour and pier

The house, situated directly below 13th century Mt. Orgueil Castle, was haunted.   The neighbours heard noises in the house when it was empty and thought there were squatters.   One night Paine’s room was filled with blue light.   Another time he was smoking by his bedroom window when he saw a Crusader in chain mail standing just inside the door.   The apparition went out sideways.   He drew it but the sketch seems, appropriately enough, to have disappeared.   A friend staying at the house asked if there was a ghost – not something they advertised in advance.   Paine said he followed the grey shape of a man downstairs into the sitting room where it vanished.   Others heard a door banging at night.   There were footsteps and smells of burning and cooking.   It is easy to be sceptical but the independent testimony of many people suggests that No. 7 was indeed haunted.   This was, no doubt, a factor in Paine’s move to La Guerdainerie Cottage, Trinity, after his third marriage in 1962.   The cottage was attached to The Old Mint where Charles II had produced his own money and nearly ruined the local economy.

Along the pier landwards from No. 7 stands the Moorings Hotel where Paine spent many convivial evenings.   He designed a menu and letter head.

Moorings Hotel note paper with reflected sailing boat design (2)

When Anna died in 1960, Paine was very hard hit.   His health deteriorated and in June 1962 he was admitted to the private wing if St. Helier hospital suffering from malnutrition, dehydration and dermatitis.   There he met the sister in charge, Joan Bolshaw.   They were married on the 18th of the following October at Holy Trinity Church, Horwich, near Bolton in Lancashire.

  Jane and Charles Paine c. 1965

Joan and Charles Paine c.1965  

Shortly afterwards they moved to La Guerdainerie Cottage.   At La Guerdainerie Paine had a studio with a north facing light over the garage.   After five short years of happy marriage he died of bone cancer in 1967.

His friend and neighbour, Desmond Rexworthy wrote of him, ‘Charles Paine . . . was a child of God, a man whose humour and convivial conversation overlay an unusually fine sensibility and sensitivity.   . . .  To be his friend was an experience of depth;  for the few his passing leaves a sore lack which can only be compensated by the love of God.   For the many, his art survives, although he eschewed exhibition and publicity during his life.’   (Jersey Evening Post, 10th July 1967)




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Applied dynamics

Paine employed a method of composition he called ‘applied dynamics’.   Among his papers was a folder titled ‘Applied Dynamics Compositions’ which contained analyses of two paintings:  Adoration de l’Enfant Jésus by Signorelli and Le Crucifiement by Raphael.

Applied Dynamic analyses (3)

Applied Dynamic analyses (2)

Applied Dynamic analyses (6)Applied Dynamic analyses (5)Applied Dynamic analyses (1)

Applied Dynamic analyses (4)

I have been unable to find any other reference to ‘applied dynamics’ in relation to art.

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THE ECREHOUS: Paine’s last work

The Ecrehous 1965-1967 – gouache on board.

Shortly after Paine’s death in 1967 the Jersey Evening Post published (10th July) a tribute by Paine’s friend and neighbour, Desmond Rexworthy.   He wrote, ‘During the last two years in his studio at La Guerdainerie, he was working on a study of sky and tide at the Ecréhous* which was to be a sublimation of his technique of dynamic synthesis.   Inspiration was not visual alone – music provided the discipline for his composition.   The counter-currents at the turn of the tide about the rocks, the very structure of the skyscape, both were portrayed  over a synthesis of geometric construction of infinite variation based upon the recurrent relationships of the Bach fugue.’

Paine said that even if unfinished the Ecréhous would still be a picture worthy of display.   It is particularly interesting in that it shows the complex geometric underpinning of his work.   He spent a long time trying to make the sea lie flat and said he couldn’t get it right.  When Harold Hards, the son of his neighbours at Welwyn, visited him and saw this work in progress the artist described it to him as ‘the achievement of a lifetime’.

The painting was slightly damaged on the left side during a house move.   It is now in a private collection in France.

* The Écréhous are a group of islands and rocks situated six miles (9.6 km) north-east of Jersey, and eight miles (12.8 km) from France.   They form part of the Bailiwick of Jersey and are administratively part of the Parish of St. Martin. All but the three largest are submerged at high tide. There are no permanent residents on the islands and there is no fresh water there.   Due to erosion, they are now much smaller than they may have been within historic times.   Maîtr’Île, the largest of the islets, is about 300 metres (0.19 mi) long.   There are a small number of fishermen’s huts, some used as holiday residences, on the largest islets, and one official building, a customs house, on La Marmotchiéthe.

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Colliery 1920s - Paine

Paine produced this image in the 1920s.   The author of the ‘Modern Printmakers’ website tells us that this colliery scene takes the schematic approach of the colour woodcuts of Edward Loxton Knight.   It is a good example of Paine’s versatility, his ability to adapt his style to the requirements of the work in hand.

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COMMERCIAL Tetlow Whiskey and Rum


1 Long Splice Rum - Paine     2 Stag Rex Scotch Whiskey - Paine

3 Stag Rex Whiskey - Paine                             Undated

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