Walter Morrison (1836-1921)

Michael Pearson
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

This year marks the centenary of the death of Walter Morrison. Though not a native of Craven he lived at Tarn House at Malham for over sixty years. A man of many interests he served as the local member of parliament and was a generous philanthropist. His gifts included the building of Kirkby Malham School, Giggleswick School Chapel, as well as many more local projects.

To celebrate the man and his many contributions to the people of Craven, and beyond, a series of events have been organised for 2021. In the present circumstances the programme is still provisional so keep checking the local press and websites, such as that for the Folly, for further details.

The portrait of Walter Morrison, on the front cover, was painted by Sir Hubert von Herkomer (1849-1914). It cost £643 10 shillings which was paid for by public subscription and was unveiled on 28th July 1903. It is reproduce here by kind permission of Giggleswick School. Herkomer was born in Bavaria but settled in England. Initially he was known for his realistic approach to depicting the conditions of life of the poor. But he went onto to become a much sought after portraitist. From 1885 to 1894 he was Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford and was elected a Royal Academician in 1890.

There are over 200 of his works on the ArtUk website. Of these at least three or four portraits were completed each year in 1902 and 1903, which gives some idea of the scale of his income! Herkomer was also a film maker as well as a composer but little of this work has survived. It would be interesting to discover where Walter Morrison sat for his portrait. We will probably never know what they discussed as the artist created this fine portrait.