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William Hoggatt - Almost A Manxman 22 February 2012

William Hoggat Stamp Set

The Isle of Man Post Office is pleased to present a set of five stamps which feature the artwork of William Hoggatt (1879 – 1961).

Alan Kelly of Mannin Collections writes:

William Hoggatt was born 1st September 1879 at 10 Garnett Street, Lancaster, son of James Hoggatt, a joiner, and Margaret Ann Hoggatt née Stalker. Hoggatt was educated in Lancaster, where his artistic talent won him a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, London, which he declined on the grounds that ‘he wanted to work freely’. He then worked as an apprentice for a local firm of stained-glass manufacturers, but also continued his art studies at the Storey Institute, Lancaster. Whilst there Herbert L. Storey, the son of the founder of the Institute, noticed the quality of Hoggatt’s work and paid for him to study art at the L’Academie Julian, Paris, from 1901-1903, under Jean Paul Laurens.

On his return to England, Hoggatt rented a cottage at Caton, near Lancaster, and started to paint full-time. In 1906 he worked for a period of time at the Tate Gallery, London, and whilst there met a young man called Leonard Archer who invited Hoggatt to stay at his home at Chalfont St. Giles. It was there he met Leonard’s sister, Dazine, and by the time Hoggatt left she had agreed to marry him. Both their parents were opposed to the intended marriage so the couple decided to elope to the Isle of Man – a place Hoggatt had heard much about in Lancaster.

Early in 1907 he arrived in the Island and moved into ‘Glendown’, Port St. Mary. He then sent for Dazine and shortly after her arrival they were married on 20th April, 1907 at Kirk Christ, Rushen. Working in oils, watercolours and pastels Hoggatt spent the next fifty-four years painting scenes throughout the Island. He exhibited from 1904 at the Royal Academy, Royal Institute, Royal Cambrian Academy, Glasgow Institute and at many other art institutions, including overseas. In 1925 he was elected a full member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours and was later a member of the Liverpool Academy and the Royal British Colonial Society of Artists. His first one-man exhibition was held at the Hampstead Art Gallery, London in 1920 entitled Tone Harmonies and contained sixty of his paintings of the Island. Most of the pictures were sold at the exhibition, including six which were purchased by a collector from South Africa.

After this exhibition Hoggatt started to receive the recognition he deserved and his work was reproduced in all the leading art journals, including The Studio and The Connoisseur. The Studio magazine said of him – ‘William Hoggatt has chosen the artistic solitude of an Island full of natural beauty. His work shows a constant passionate striving for the wonders of light, colour, texture and the whole overpowering poetry of landscape’.

In 1926 the Hoggatts moved from ‘Glendown’, Port St. Mary to ‘The Darrag’, Port Erin, overlooking the bay, where they stayed for the rest of their lives. Locally, Hoggatt exhibited at the Isle of Man Artists’ Exhibitions in the 1930s and at the Mannin Art Group Exhibitions in the 1950s, of which he was a vice-president. In 1934 he won a competition to design a stained glass window for the Manx Museum, to commemorate T.E. Brown, the Manx national poet Other design work included travel posters for the Isle of Man Tourist Board, and in 1951 he designed the front cover for the Festival of Mann programme, with a view of Castle Rushen. Two of Hoggatt’s paintings were presented to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on their visit to the Island in 1945 and the Duke of Edinburgh purchased a watercolour, Ballaugh Curraghs, at the 1949 Royal Institute Exhibition.

William Hoggatt died 4th June 1961 at Noble’s Hospital after a short illness. He often described himself as ‘almost a Manxman’ and the epitaph on his gravestone in Rushen Churchyard reads ‘He loved the Island dearly and revealed to its people its wondrous beauty’..

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