W R E Goodrich by Frederick E Brookes on paper unframed drawn in the trenches 1917
This portrait of the young W R E Goodrich was drawn by a fellow soldier, Frederick E Brookes, in the WW1 trenches in 1917. Even then Brookes described Goodrich as a successful Sheffield artist. It is hard to image the contrast between the nightmare of life in 1917, and the peace and tranquillity provided by the Rivelin Valley just four years later. Perhaps the camaraderie of the Rivelin Valley Artists provided echoes of the more positive aspect of life in the trenches. Who knows?
Rivelin corn mill cottages by W R E Goodrich
This is where the Rivelin Valley Artists were based in the 1920s, and their elderly leader, Robert Scott-Temple rented a cottage here. Goodrich was one of a group of young Sheffield artists who had survived World War I and who no doubt found real peace in the natural surroundings of the Rivelin Valley. Goodrich’s pallet knife technique is quite distinctive, and very different from the Scott-Temple’s oil paintings and Ben Baines’ watercolours. The cottages were demolished in the 1950s but the sycamore trees are still there.
Foot of Lodge Lane, Rivelin Valley, by W R E Goodrich
This view from the foot of Lodge Lane across to the Rigs has hardly changed in a century. The Cornmill lay down by the riverside where this lane crossed over and began the climb up the Rails towards Stannington. In its heyday the working mills and stone quarries of the valley bottom would have drawn in workers from the villages along the valley sides, and there are numerous pathways and steps down through the woods and fields from Crookes, Crosspool, Walkley, Roscoe Bank and Stannington.
Portrait of Robert Scott Temple RSA, painting in Rivelin, by W R E Goodrich
In 1921 Scott-Temple was in his 70s and a well-established artist who had travelled widely. He had paintings in a number of collections and is believed to have exhibited at the Scottish Royal Academy. Why he chose to settle in the Rivelin Valley remains a mystery, but he lived in a cottage at the Corn Mill, and undoubtedly became the inspirational mentor to a circle of younger painters, some of whom had only recently returned from the trenches of the First World War. This portrait is by one such local artist, W R E Goodrich. Scott Temple’s magnificent oil paintings capture the very essence of the wild and romantic Rivelin Valley, just at the moment when nature began to reclaim the industrial landscape.