Life of Agnes Clara Tatham

Agnes Clara Tatham was born on the 18th of January 1893 as the daughter of Meaburn Talbot Tatham and Susan Clara Miers. She was the fourth out of five Tatham children and grew up with her family at Northcourt House, Abingdon, in southern England. In the family, she was always known as 'Widdy'.
To the right, you see a picture of Northcourt House taken in 2017.   
In March 1901 Agnes residence was for a period Eden Cottage, 
Beckenham, the house of her mother's family outside of London, which you see below.

Northcourt House 2017

Eden Cottage with Susan Mary Miers ( born Fry), the grandmother of Agnes Clara Tatham, walking in the garden.
Painted by J. Benton, October 1894.

Agnes studied art at the Byam Shaw School of Art. The drawing to the right made by Byam Shaw in 1915, shows the young Agnes painting. At the Byam Shaw School, Agnes developed a friendship with Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale (1872-1945), who was a teacher at the school, with her chief responsibility being Watercolour drawing. Eleanor was a well known watercolour artist from 1901, in annual exhibitions, in the commercial sector and in the illustrated press, and she was identified as a third-wave pre-Raphaelite.

Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale was especially helpful to the Byam Shaw School after the unexpected death of Shaw himself in 1919, resuming some of her earlier duties in spite of her own enormous professional commitments, which included stained glass windows, paintings, altarpieces, watercolours and illustrated books. During the late 1920s, Fortescue-Brickdale can be found visiting the Tatham family home, Northcourt House near Abingdon, and when in 1929 Agnes took up residence in Holland Park Road, near to the Fortescue-Brickdale studio, their friendship deepened. Agnes lived in Holland Park Road, Kensington untill 1939. In this period she was a paying guest at the Fortescue-Brickdale sisters' own home in Kensington.

During the war years, when Eleanor was already in poor health, she found a refuge from the chaos of London at the Tatham home, Northcourt House near Abingdon.

The enduring nature of the friendship between Agnes Clara Tatham and Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale is indicated by Agnes' ownership of the 1914 portrait of her teacher painted by another member of their artistic circle, M.E, (Dreda) Gray, and the bequest to Agnes in Fortescue-Brickdale's will of the artist's easel, which had once belonged to Byam Shaw. 

Agnes also studied at the Vicat Cole School of Art and at the RA Schools. At the RA Schools, she received a number of artistic awards and recognition for her paintings.

She mostly worked in oil and tempera and her paintings have been widely exhibited. Besides painting, she also worked as an illustrator on several children's books.

About 1950 she moved to 77 Bedford Gardens, Kensington, where she lived until 1970. With Elsie Gledstanes and Alice Burton, she opened a new art school called the Unique School for Children’s Art, in London.

She moved back to Nourthcourt House in 1970 and lived there until her death on the 13th September 1972. She was buried 28. October 1972.

Photo to the left: Croquet on the lawn at Northcourt House 1939