Will: Frederick's will was dated 20
November 1937, with a codicil added on 29 Janury 1943. It was on proved
2 April 1943. He bequeathed the property 2 St Clements Gardens to his
son, Reginald Hector Whistler.
Census: 1871: Sherborne St John,
Sherborne St John, Hampshire
1891: Little Thurrock, Essex: ? H. Whistler is aged 22, born in
Basingstoke, Hampshire. His occupation is School Master.
1901: St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands: Frederick W. Whistler,
boarder, is aged 31, born in England. His occupation is School Master
1911: Jersey district, Jersey, Channel Islands: Frederick Herbert
Whistler, head, is aged 41, born in Sherborne St John, Hampshire
Birth: England Birth Index
(3Q1869 Basingstoke vol 2c p186); exact place from 1881 census
Parents: 1881 census;
mother's surname from England Marriage Index (3Q1860 Pancras vol 1b
p193) and Whistler
College, Jersey, which he attended from 1915 until 1923, then at the London School of Architecture, and the Slade School of Art.
Painter, muralist and illustrator, using the professional name of
Hector left Britain in 1948 and settled in Jamaica where he became
influential in the West Indian art scene. As an illustrator he was most
noted for his illiustration of The Prime
Minister by Anthony Trollope.
Shared Visions: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of
the University of the West Indies p86 (2002) Hector Whistler
Born Jersey, Channel Islands, 1905.
Attended classes at the Slade School of Art, University College,
London. Persued a number of the prestigious commissions in Britain.
Left Britain in 1948 and settled in Jamaica where the newly-instituted
University College of the West Indies became the source of a number of
commissions to portray the officials of the new University. Exhibited
in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados, in Paris and London.
The Times (London) 21 July 1934 p10 In commissioning Mr Hector Whistler to
decorate their marine amusement hall, known as the Aero Cafe, with wall
paintings, Messrs. Tomson and Wotton, of Ramsgate, have set an example
which might well be followed, as adding both to gaiety and giving
congenial employment to talented young artists. The work has been
conceived and executed on the sound principle of 'rub it out and do it
again'. That is to say, it was understood that the decorations were to
be inexpensive in material and not intended to stand for more than a
year or so. Since many opportunities of the kind are shirked from the
double fear of expense and the judgment of posterity, this was a very
wise provision - particularly in a place of amusement.
Instead of making elaborate preparations with canvas panels to be
painted in 'solid oils' Mr Whistler has worked directly on the wall
surface, part brick, part plaster, in cheap distemper colours, being
paid a weekly wage while on the job. The building itself has the
circumstantial interest of having been designed, presumably as an
assembly hall, by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, the Gothic
revivalist, who was also responsible for the rather fussily gabled but
internally spacious and comfortable Granville Hotel. Though not Gothic
in style the cafe is Gothic in principle, being divided into five bays
by semi-circular steel arches, with a steel ribbed apse at the eastern
end. Primarily a dancing hall, it has a glass floor, illuminated from
below, a small bathing pool, and a gallery. Under the gallery, on each
of the long sides, there are recesses, and in them Mr Whistler, who has
had the advantage over most painters of architectural training, has
placed his principal subjects.
The general scheme is a light-hearted and freely executed summary of
the history of Ramsgate, several of the scenes being suggested by the
pageant which is now going on. They include Queen Elizabeth visiting
Sandwich, Pitt descending from his carriage, and a contemporary cafe
interior on one side, and the arrest of Wat Tyler, the Marina in 1880,
the Marina in 1935 - being blown up - an 'abstract' marine composition,
and a contemporary 'pub' interior on the other. These set subjects are
linked together by an 'all over' pattern of arabesques and figures on
the dividing piers. At the west end, which is broken by a window, there
is a view of Old Ramsgate with shipping, a flight of gulls above, and
denizens of the deep below; and flanking the apse end are two large
mural paintings of stylized islands, with aircraft above, in isometric
One of the most successful parts of the scheme is the treatment of the
gallery staircase. This has freely curved handrails, and on the wall
space above Mr Whistler has summed up their tendency in a 'Catherine
wheel' design of concentric rings of colour throwing off spirals
representing transport through the ages, from 1600 B.C. in Egypt down
to 1934 in England. The work is delightfully free in execution, in a
full range of colour, but with no colour in particular predominating on
the general ground of light ochre. Above all the work is to be praised
on general principles, as providing a truly creative opportunity
without the undue solemnity and idea of permanency which too often
strangles such commissions at the birth.
The Miami News 16 March 1952 p9-B AT TUCKER'S
Hector Whistler's Pictures On View
By NELLIE BOWER
It should be fully understood that just as an artist is not
always on an even keel, doing the same quality of work, neither is a
critic always as receptive nor as open to impression especially when
exhibits containing literally hundreds of paintings follow each other
in close succession.
In any case, this is one of the reasons I offer for failing to
receive much reaction on visiting Hector Whistler's exhibit at the Eve
Tucker Galleries. the other is, that as been previously reported, and
as may be seen in the accompanying illustration, Mr. Whistler is
primarily a mural painter, and to guage his stature as an artist from
his current show is palpably unfair.
That does not mean that there is not some good sound work to be
seen in the exhibit. A few watercolors of palm trees are really fine,
his heads of Jamaican natives are convincing and boldly handled and
several series of original drawings for illustrations show him to be an
accomplished draughtsman and one with a strong flair for good
composition. But to judge a muralist by a group of sketches is like
judging a concert pianist by hearing him play exercises.
Last year, the artist sold to the Chicago Art Institute a series
of watercolor drawings depicting the "History of Sugar and Rum" which
it was hoped would have remained in Jamaica - but evidently no funds
were available for the purchase.
Meriden Journal (Meriden, Connecticut) 11
September 1969 p16 Paintings, From Office Of President, In
On display this week in the Record-Journal window are two oil
paintings owned by Mrs. Wayne C. Smith, president of The Meriden Record
Company and executive editor of The Record and The Journal. these
paintings were purchased in Barbados and are hanging in her office.
Bajans, the customary name for people native to Barbados, are
interesting people, unusually courteous and genially friendly. The
portrait "Blue Boy" is of a typical young Bajan, the work of Hector
Whistler, a relative (a cousin, we are told), of James Whistler, famous
etcher in England and American painter best known for his "Whistler's
Mother." Hector Whistler has lived in Barbados many years pleasing
Bajans with his art and building a great reputation for his sensitive
and vivid portrayals of local people, and also building a reputation in
England for his artistry. This picture was purchased from Portobello, a
private museum in Speightstown, where much of the Whistler work has
been displayed and sold. In recent years Mr. Whistler has been so
crippled by arthritis that he has turned to other media than oils to
express his artistry. "Blue Boy" was probably the last of his portrait
work and certainly the last remaining in Barbados as of the winter of
1969. The entire output of his earlier and productive years has been
sent to England upon his request.
Notes: Reginald served in the Royal
Militia of the Island of Jersey, and was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant
in the Light Infantry on 22 May 1926 (London Gazette 21 May 1926 p3277).
During the Second World War, Hector lived in Park Town, Oxford. A biography of Joan Gili describes how Joan "decided to move the Dolphin Bookshop away from the bombs to Oxford, to a
studio in Park Town that had belonged to the flamboyant
purple-waistcoated artist Hector Whistler."
A number of lovely (but unfortunately watermarked) pictures of
Hector in Venice in 1958 can be found at the Bianconero-Venezia
1911: Jersey district, Jersey, Channel Islands: Reginald
Hector Whistler, son, is aged 6, born in Jersey