WESTERN, John Arthur

1948 - 1993

John Arthur Western was born in the Blyth district of Suffolk on 26 January 1948, son of John Robert Western (15 April 1912-26 October 1999), a farmer, and his wife Edna May née Tarrant (10 August 1914-1996), who married in the Deben district of Suffolk in 1940. John was educated at Cretingham Primary School and Framlingham Modern School, both in Suffolk and studied graphic design at Ipswich School of Art. In 1970 he commenced his working career as a graphic & philatelic designer in London but after a year, returned to Suffolk to work on his own account. From an early age he had been making sketches of subjects that were of his particular interest and became focused on the fast-disappearing way of Suffolk rural life, which he captured in his drawings of decaying buildings and long silent farm machinery. Some of his river scenes continued his passion for recording ancient buildings and ruins, such as water mills and decaying hulks on the banks of the Rivers Deben, Alde, Orwell, or Stour. In the early 1980s his interest in barns took a new dimension when he heard of one being taken down in Mendlesham, which he purchased and re-erected in his garden at Monewden, near Woodbridge, where it became his studio and gallery. An illustrator, illustrating numerous calendars, greetings cards and books, including Eric Sandon's 'Suffolk Houses: A Study of Domestic Architecture' (1999), also contributing to the 'East Anglian Magazine'. He took commissions particularly for private houses and, with Gilbert Sills and John Bridges, set up the Cretingham Crank Company where he designed custom motorcycles. Western's progression to watercolour added a new dimension to his work, which was evident in solo exhibitions at the Fraser Gallery, Woodbridge, Suffolk. From his boat, he was able to capture familiar subjects from a new perspective, often being set against a misty morning or fading sunlight. He drowned in the River Deben near Woodbridge being last seen alive on the 7 January 1993 and his body was found on 21 February 1993, he was aged just 44. An exhibition of over 200 of his works was held at Ramsey Cottage, Clopton Road, Monewden, Suffolk on the 10th anniversary of his death.

Works by This Artist