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#Bude Watercolour Mystery

Posted on Jul 20, 2015 by in Article, Canal | 7 comments


Malcolm says: Petherick’s warehouse beyond Granary Court – It’s not a bad representation!

Theresa says: Branscombes are very collectable water colours in this area . I think both father and son painted. One lived in Marhamchurch.Here is a Branscombe print by G Branscombe 1821
Theresa says: Branscombes are very collectable water colours in this area . I think both father and son painted. One lived in Marhamchurch.Here is a Branscombe print by G Branscombe 1821


Firstly, it’s great to know that people in France also check out our website, so my many thanks indeed to David Wheeler, who has sent us a copy of a watercolour he has of a warehouse along the Bude Canal,  an artwork which is a little perplexing. Understandably, David would like more information about the painting. Does anyone know who it is by? Was it even painted by someone who had never been to Bude? A few aspects seem inconsistent, as he points out.  As David suggests, it does not seem to be a great work of art, but it nonetheless has a certain rustic charm.

David writes:

This is a copy of the watercolour that I have. The inscription on the back reads ‘slate yard on the banks of the canal’ . There follows  what I think may be an initial followed by a name but I can make nothing of it. The date is written  ‘Augt 24th 1888’. The painting is said to be by G.Branscombe 1888. But that does not equate to what I think is the signature. The handwriting is of the period. It is neat and and it is a trained hand.I like the painting. It is jolly but of no artistic merit. Given the skill of many Victorian watercolourists, this one seems to be lacking. But it is surely of a particular building, shown in a poor state of repair. Plaster is falling off the end gable which obscures some lettering which I cannot decipher. The ship shown adjacent is stylised and the rigging is all wrong. It was not painted by someone who knew about such things. The ship’s boat is an alarming shape.The group of buildings seems to be set in the countryside. I cannot see any resemblance to the Hockin & Hooper stores shown in your photos of the Strand. I would be very interested to know what you can make of it. I know nothing of Bude, beyond visits many years ago, but I am certain that this was an actual building, and it is of an interesting design. There is a passage through the ground floor level of the canal side wing.


  1. Stephen and Nigel say: It looks like Granary Court, now apartments next to Pentyre Court and Hanover House.

  2. I used to play in this building 35 years ago before it was demolished and turned into flats. If you take a copy of the picture to my olde man maurice jenkins a local antique dealer he will be able to tell you who the artist was. Hope this helps

    • Many thanks, Marcus. Where would we find Maurice?

  3. Nigel adds: If its G Branscombe, then its possibly Goyle Branscombe who was the Nephew of Charles H Branscombe. Charles Branscombe paintings are very much sought after, more so than the Goyle Branscombe.

  4. Thank you for all this so far. The building in the background does look like the one in the photograph, Petherick’s Wharehouse. Particularly the bull’s eye in the end gable. That reinforces my view that whoever painted the picture was doing his or her best to give an accurate representation. But what shape was it, I wonder? Was it L shaped or T shaped? Is there another wing on the other side of it? Why, otherwise ” & Hoopers” if there wasn’t “Hockin” on the other side? And on the gable we see, ” slate yard &…”.
    “& what” I wonder. This is in any event an interesting shaped building. Does anyone know its plan? Did it have a passage through it as access to the other buildings? Were there other buildings of this shape in Bude by the canal? And is there anything significant about the date? It was clearly significant to the artist. And thanks also for the copy painting by Mr Branscombe. This looks much more professional. Does anyone have a paiting by Goyle Branscombe so that one could perhaps them for style?

  5. Re Hockin & Hooper

    John Hockin was born at Hartland in 1806 and joined the business known as Brays and took over the the business in 1830. The 1841 Tithe Map shows him as a leaseholder of all the Higher Wharf (from Sir Thomas Acland) and his warehouse being on the site of the painting.

    John Hooper was born at Launcells in 1826 died 1880. Hockin & Hooper merchants are listed in the 1856 PO Directory. By 1883 the business had been renamed Hockin & Co and if the 24 Aug 1888 is relevant they obviously had never got round to changing the signage.That date was a Friday incidentally.

    • Many thanks for this info, Roger. Appreciated.

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