I had a lovely conversation with John Iddon, a fine art dealer, at a show in January 2013. It was held unusually in the Science Museum and I had a great time. I had previously bought a Roy Wright original from him. This time he had, on display, the very Rowland Hilder I wrote about in a previous blog article! It shows the Co-op store in Cornwell, a tiny hamlet in Oxfordshire. here it is again….
Cornwell Co-Op by Rowland Hilder
At the show I asked John for permission to take a couple of snapshots on my phone for my reference and here there are – crude in quality, which you’ll have to forgive
Cornwell Co-op by Hilder in colour
The caption accompanying the watercolour
The latter states:
Featured in the national Press in 1950
this watercolour was presented to Lord and Lady Robert Crichton Stuart by the C.W.S. Directors
The painting was originally commissioned by the C.W.S. Publicity Department
for the series, “Windows to a new world”
CWS of course stands for Co-operative Wholesale Society, which still exists and the Internet tells me that “Lord Robert Crichton-Stuart (12 December 1909 – 1976), married Lady Janet Egida Montgomerie (1911–1999), daughter of Archibald Montgomerie, 16th Earl of Eglinton “and they had issue” – as it formally states.
My wife and I, on the way home from Tewkesbury recently, decided to head to Cornwell to check out what the place looks like and if the store still stood there. I’m pleased to say, the building remains and we were very fortunate to get there in sunlight! It is so quiet a spot in Oxfordshire and we saw one person the whole time we were there. I see that the manor House is actually detailed (we couldn’t approach it as it stated it was very private property!) and can ‘be hired’ Here are our photos of the village:
Approaching the store
First view – easily recognizable
Close-up of the store as it is now
The view after walking past – looking back
My ever patient wife asked me why I wanted to visit Cornwell and I admitted it was a childish detective work that gave me a thrill. I discovered the picture accidentally in Lilliput magazine and then the original at a show I attended and wanted to see the site itself. At least she’s not married to someone whose obsession is the pill boxes of France from World War Two!