Walter Tyndale

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Long Street, Sherborne (The location for the "Sherton Abbas" of the "Wessex" novels of Thomas Hardy)
The Tithe Barn, Abbotsbury (scene of the sheep-shearing in Thomas Hardy's "Far from the madding crowd")
A "Takhtabosh" (or loggia) in Cairo

Walter Frederick Roofe Tyndale (1855–1943) was an English watercolour painter of landscapes, architecture and street scenes, book illustrator and travel writer.[1][2]

Life and works[edit]

Life as an artist[edit]

Tyndale was born and brought up in the medieval town of Bruges in Belgium, and trained initially at the "Bruges Academy of Art". When he was 16, his family returned to England, settling in Bath in Somerset for several years. At the age of 18, he returned to Belgium, studying art first at the Academy in Antwerp, then moving to Paris where he studied under Léon Bonnat and Jan van Beers.

In the 1870s, At the age of 21, circumstances obliged him to return to England in order to make a living from his art. He painted portraits and genre works in oils, and married a Miss Barnard.[3] Until about 1890, he was known mainly as a portrait painter, but then moved to Haslemere in Surrey, started to teach art and switched to watercolour painting.[4] He eventually commissioned the building of an arts and crafts-style house for himself called "Broad Dene",[5] located on Hill Road in the town.[6]

Tyndale travelled to the Netherlands (with friend and fellow artist Claude Hayes), then to Portugal, where he held a successful exhibition in Oporto. Subsequently he painted in England (in a sketching group organised by Helen Allingham near Maidstone in Kent), and abroad in Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Sicily, Italy and Rothenburg, Bavaria (a town he described as "a little paradise for sketchers").[4]

Illustrated books[edit]

Tyndale was one of the first illustrators to benefit from new developments in colour printing in the early 20th century, which led to a surge in demand for illustrations for travel books. He wrote and illustrated several volumes as well as providing pictures for other authors. His first commission was from Methuen for "The New Forest" (1904), and work on subsequent books (see bibliography) led to him travelling extensively in England, Italy, the Middle East and Japan, painting landscapes, street scenes and architecture.[4]

For the book "Wessex" (A & C Black, 1900),[7] Tyndale painted landscapes and buildings in the west country of England, some of which had inspired Thomas Hardy's "Wessex" novels.[8] Some of these locations were suggested by Hardy himself, who praised the "fidelity, both in form and colour" of Tyndale's work.[9] "The Studio" magazine commented on the "excellent draughtsmanship and the care with which architectural details are rendered".[10]

Societies, exhibitions and legacy[edit]

Tyndale was a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours (RI), a founding member of the "Haslemere Art Society" and president of the latter between 1930–1932.[11] Tyndale exhibited his works at various venues including the Royal Academy, the RI gallery in Piccadilly and Dowdeswell Galleries in London. His main artistic influences were his friend, the watercolourist Claude Hayes and, to a lesser extent, Helen Allingham

Tyndale left three sizeable diaries, in which he recorded his travels, including correspondence with friends and family, postcards, photographs and some self-portraits.


Written and illustrated by Tyndale:

Illustrated by Tyndale:

About Tyndale:

  • Holland, Clive. Walter Tyndale: The man and his art (Studio International, volume 38, 1906, p288 ff).
  • Ackerman, Gerald M. Les orientalistes de l'Ecole britannique, volume 9 (Art Creation Realisation, 1991) pp. 282–91.


  1. ^ Biography (Brian Sewell Art Directory).
  2. ^ Scott Wilcox & Christopher Newall. Victorian landscape watercolours (Hudson Hills Press, 1992) p188.
  3. ^ Daughter of Rev. Thomas M. Barnard, and grand-daughter of Sir Edmund Carrington ("The Studio, vol. 38, 1906, p290).
  4. ^ a b c Holland, Clive. Walter Tyndale: The man and his art (The Studio, volume 38, 1906, p288 ff).
  5. ^ Broad Dene is now a grade II listed building. See [1].
  6. ^ Haslemere town trail.
  7. ^ Holland, Clive. Wessex (A & C Black, 1906).
  8. ^ Some of these illustrations were also published without text as "Hardy country water-colours" (A & C Black).
  9. ^ Millgate, Michael. Thomas Hardy's public voice: the essays, speeches, and miscellaneous prose (Oxford University Press, 2001) p221.
  10. ^ Review of "Wessex", (The Studio, vol 38, 1906, p89).
  11. ^ Haslemere Art Society.
  12. ^ brief details at

External links[edit]