CRITTALL, Walter Francis

1887 - 1956

Walter Francis Crittall, 'Mr Pink', was born at 27 Bank Street, Braintee, Essex on 2 July 1887, one of the four children of Francis Henry Crittall (1860-1935), a manager in the family firm of window manufacturers, and his wife Ellen Laura née Cooper, who married at Aston, Birmingham on 6 September 1883. In 1891, a 3 year old, living at Braintree with his parents, 30 year old Francis and 27 year old Ellen, and his two siblings, 5 year old Miriam and Richard Valentine George Crittall (1884-1961), later the 1st and last Baron Braintree. Walter trained at St John's Wood School of Art and won a prize at Essex Art and Craft at Chelmsford in October 1911 for a watercolour. He married at Chelmsford, Essex in 1910, Christine May Luckin (1882-1927), daughter of James Luckin, an accountant, and in 1911, a 23 year old engineer's designer with the family firm, living at London Road, Braintree with his 25 year old wife, together with his brother, 14 year old Daniel Frederick Crittall. His wife Christine died at Alcoates, High Garrett, Braintree on 20 January 1927, aged 40, leaving a son John and a daughter Elizabeth and the following year, Walter married secondly at Marylebone, London on 31 August 1928, Mary Duke Gordon (25 March 1893-1987). During the late 1920s, Walter became friends with artist George Clausen [q.v.] and Clausen painted Critall's portrait which was exhibited in the 1936 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Crittall, a competent artist and known as 'Mr Pink', lived at Great Easton, Essex and had a second home on the coast at Southwold, a favourite of early and mid-20th century artists, and he co-founded The Sole Bay Group [q.v.] and, no doubt attracted by the philanthropy of Crittall and the fame of Clausen, many artists gathered around the two 'founders' including Arnesby Brown [q.v.], Hilda Carline [q.v.] and Richard Carline (1986-1980), Thomas Cantrell Dugdale [q.v.], Russell Flint (1880-1969), George Mostyn [q.v.]and Gilbert Spencer [q.v.]. The Group's summertime exhibitions were held in both Southwold and Aldeburgh but disbanded about the time of the outbreak of the Second World War. He also exhibited at Great Cranfield Artists Society and at the Braintree Institute, in Essex. In 1939, Crittall was a technical director, living at New Farm, Great Easton, Dunmow, Essex with his wife Mary and daughter Christine Elizabeth (25 March 1915-2005), a secretary. He died at New Farm, Great Easton on 11 May 1956, aged 68.