A Frost

Watercolour on paper, signed, titled & dated 1933
Image size: 11 1/2 x 7 inches (29 x 18 cm)

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This work is initialled lower right ‘CT’ and inscribed lower left ‘Bristol Savages, 1933’.

Charles William Thomas was a key member of the Savages from 1904. The monogram is his characteristic signature.

Thomas was born in Portishead in 1884, trained as an architect but gave it up when his employer went bankrupt. He joined the Savages aged 20, elected for his talents with soft watercolours, and as a cartoonist and storyteller (performing for the artist Savages was a means of membership!) He managed a shop after World War I, and later became a columnist and cartoonist for the Bristol Evening Post. Biog. Ref, John Hudson, The Savage Spirit (2004), p.162.

This sketch was almost certainly produced during one of their 2 hour artist meetings, when a subject (e.g. A Frost) would be set for the artists to interpret); hence the title and Bristol Savages on the piece.

Founded in 1894 by Ernest Ehlers, he invited his fellow Bristol based artists to spend a friendly evening in his studio to work and talk. At first, meetings were held in their private studios, then as their numbers grew, in rented premises. By 1904 this led to the official founding of the Bristol Savages and the holding ever since, of similar weekly meetings between October and May each year. In 1905 the first exhibition of paintings was held at the premises of George Nichols & Co., an auctioneer in Broad Street, Bristol.

During the next 14 years exhibitions were held annually in Bristol and their first permanent home was Brandon Cottage which was made available to them through the good offices of fellow member James Fuller Eberle. When the Red Lodge, Park Row came on the market in 1919, it was purchased to create headquarters for the Tribe as the collective membership is known. Annual exhibitions have continued since that date, apart from a break during World War II. Past members include etcher Stanley Anderson, painter William Titcomb and sculptor Frank Dobson.