1878 - 1933

John Gidley Withycombe

John Gidley Withycombe was born at North Street, Taunton, Somerset on 3 September 1878 and baptised at St Mary Magdalene, Taunton on 2 October 1878, eldest son of John Withycombe (18 July 1839-21 June 1903), hotel proprietor & farmer, and his wife Elizabeth née Gidley (1845-24 October 1938), who married at Wellington, Somerset in 1876. In 1881, the family were living at The Castle Hotel, North Street, Taunton which was sold in 1889 when they took a farm at The Avenue, Minehead, Somerset where 12-year-old John was living with his parents, 51-year-old John, a farmer, and 45-year-old Elizabeth, with siblings Robert 10 and William 9. John was educated at a local school kept by two elderly ladies, and he spent some time in America twice visiting Rotterdam on each trip and whilst in the U.S.A. spent some time in Baltimore and sent home some sketches of Americans. In 1901, John was a 22-year-old surveyor & auctioneer's clerk, boarding at 28 Prospect Road, St Alban's, Hertfordshire. He married at Islington, London in 1901, Ellen Hannah Bell (6 January 1872-1 May 1937). John exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists in 1909, from Dedham, Essex and in 1910 from East Bergholt, Suffolk. It seems probable that he was at Dedham and the adjoining village of East Bergholt to learn art but in 1911, John was running the family farm at Venn Chagford, Devon with his 65-year-old widowed mother and two sibling sisters Susan 27 and Fanny 24, but his 36-year-old wife Ellen was living at East Bergholt, with their three daughters Elizabeth Gidley 8, Margaret Margaret Garland 7 and Ellen Joyce 6. His work is used in the frontispiece of 'Epistles from Deep Seas' (1915) by J. E. Patterson. In 1916, Jack as he was known, was a Captain in the army, serving with the Ordnance Survey, first as the Officer in charge of the War Maps Department which was amalgamated after March 1916 with Map Sales and Issues, and was the Officer in charge of the Engraving and Small-Scale Division. He wrote two articles in the Geographical Journal 'Recent productions of the Ordnance Survey' (1925) and 'Lettering on Maps' (1929). John Gidley Withycombe died at West End Lodge, West End, Winchester, Hampshire on 28 December 1933, aged 56. A Memorial Exhibition of his paintings, etchings and drawings was held at the Civic Centre, Southampton on 12-17 March 1934.

Works by This Artist