A Wainwright 1907-1991 Valle Crucis
Valle Crucis Abbey
Wainwrights original pen and ink drawings rarely come onto the market and when they do they are snapped up by eager collectors, the level of detail, subject matter and what book they are published in are the main yardstick as to what price tag to put on them. Wainwrights most famous drawings fetch tens of thousands of pounds, I would say he is a sound investment.
Alfred Wainwright was born in Blackburn, Lancashire into a family which was relatively poor, mostly because of his stonemason father’s alcoholism. He did very well at school (first in nearly every subject) although he left at the age of 13. While most of his classmates were obliged to find employment in the local mills, Wainwright started work as an office boy in Blackburn Borough Engineer’s Department. He spent several years studying at night school, gaining qualifications in accountancy which enabled him to further his career at Blackburn Borough Council. Even when a child Wainwright walked a great deal, up to 20 miles at a time; he showed a great interest in drawing and cartography, producing his own maps of England and his local area.
In 1930, at the age of 23, Wainwright saved up for a week’s walking holiday in the Lake District with his cousin Eric Beardsall. They arrived in Windermere and climbed the nearby Orrest Head, where Wainwright saw his first view of the Lakeland fells. This moment marked the start of what he later described as his love affair with the Lake District.