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Walter C Foster - some background


After leaving Bingley Grammar School,Walter worked from 1897-1903 as assistant to Charles Frederick Dawson, the art master at the Bingley School of Art and Grammar School. During this time, it was decided that Walter should apply for a scholarship at the Royal College of Art.

He won a scholarship at the age of 16, and attended from 1903-1908, gaining a full diploma and an associateship (A.R.C.A.) Whilst assisting Edward Johnston in the upper school of design, and spending the final six months of 1908 teaching for Gerol Moira at the painting school , then returning to Bingley and marriage.

Walter painted extensively in and around the Aire valley, from the valley bottom to the high terraces of the moors, as well as the East Riding coast and wolds.

In 1922, Walter bought a crofter's cottage at Buckley Green, twixt Stanbury and Ponden, in the heart of Bronte country, from whence he captured the wild and beautiful moorland landscapes around Stanbury and Ponden.

Walter Christopher Foster 1887 - 1929

R.C.A. 1903 - 1908

Walter Christopher Foster is recognised as one of Britain's great neglected artists*. Walter spent much of his short life as a teacher of art but he was a prolific oil and watercolour painter. Just how prolific was unknown until recently when grandson Dave Foster unearthed a wealth of treasures.

Walter Christopher Foster was born in 1887 in Bingley, West Yorkshire . The middle son of printer William Foster, Walter attended Bingley Grammar School followed by four years as assistant to the Art Master at Bingley School of Art. Walter's natural artistic talent was recognised when he won a scholarship to study at London's Royal College of Art. He studied there from 1903-1908 gaining a full diploma. His tutors included acclaimed painters Gerald Moira and William Richard Lethaby as well as stained glass artist Christopher Whall.

Walter returned to Yorkshire where he first taught art at Halifax Secondary School. In 1911 he was appointed Headmaster at Bingley School of Art before returning to Bingley Grammar School in 1913 as Art Master.

Walter enlisted as a volunteer in the Royal Navy in 1915.

On his return from naval duties in 1918 he spent a year at Lister's Mills in Bradford studying textile colouration and design before moving over the Pennines to become Headmaster at Stockport College of Art.

He exhibited numerous oil and watercolour paintings at Bradford's Cartwright Hall from 1911-1919 including 'A Winter Afternoon' and 'October Morning'

By 1924 the lure of the Aire Valley and career enhancement had drawn him back to Shipley where he became Headmaster at Shipley School of Art until his untimely death in 1929.

Dave Foster (grandson) and David Stansfield are compiling a book about the life and work of Walter. Exhibitions are also being planned. "Substantial research has already been conducted but we're convinced that someone with local knowledge may have some information on Walter or other Aire Valley artists and arts schools between 1885 and 1940," says Dave Foster. The two writers would welcome any information, which will be acknowledged in the book, Walter.

Dave Foster can be contacted on 0113 2742106.


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