WILLIS, Janet Caroline Nicolson

1882 - 1976

Janet Caroline Nicolson Willis was born at Chorlton, Lancashire on 8 May 1882, eldest child of Henry Gaye Willis (1847-28 January 1937), assistant master in a grammar school, and his wife Margaret (Meta) Traill Nicolson (3 September 1854-13 December 1938), daughter of Revd Alexander Dunbar Nicolson, who married at St John's Church, East Dulwich, Surrey on 28 July 1881. In 1891, Janet was an 8-year-old, living at Meadowside, Lodge Avenue, Urmson, Lancashire with her parents, 43-year-old Henry and 36-year-old Margaret and five siblings, Margaret Gaye 7, Henry Herbert Wightman 5, Winifred Mary Langhorne 4, Malcolm Featherstone 2 and newly born Ursula Katherine, all born in Lancashire. By 1901, they had had moved to 76 Heaton Moor Road, Heaton Norris, Lancashire and in 1911, 28-year-old Janet was an assistant mistress, boarding at Oratava, Waverley Road, Enfield, Middlesex, the home of 42 year old spinster Janet Brown Webster, head mistress of a school. A member of the Ipswich Art Club 1943-1956, exhibiting from 1 Holly Road, Ipswich in 1943, four works 'River Mawddach', 'Snowdon from Deeside', 'Evening on the Dee' and 'Tewksbury Abbey' and four more in 1944 'Weisshorn over Zermatt', 'The River Stour, near Christchurch', 'Christchurch Priory from the River Stour' and 'Near Port Rush, Co. Antrim, Ireland' and was a regular exhibitor, showing two or three paintings every year until at least 1956 when she exhibited 'Pear Trees' and 'A Back Garden' which seem to have been her last. She was also a renowned plant collector, and her herbarium is in the Natural History Museum. Janet Caroline Nicolson Willis died at Edgeley Grange Nursing Home, Stockport on 30 September 1976 and her will was proved in Ipswich, she was unmarried.