Holmes Winter (1851-1935) came from East Anglia in the late nineteenth century to live in St Albans, which, it is thought, he discovered on a walking tour with Frederick Kitton, another well-known local artist, and biographer of Charles Dickins. Kitton became very involved in civic activities in St Albans, and campaigned for the preservation of various old buildings. Holmes Winter joined him in this campaign by producing, in 1897/98, a series of etchings called “The Last of Old St Albans.” There were 100 plates altogether, and 25 copies of each were taken before the plates were destroyed. Many of these etchings are in the collection of St Albans Museum, and can be seen on the Museum website (http://www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk) under “Highlights from our Image Library”.
Holmes Winter’s watercolour of the Lower Red Lion in Fishpool Street
Lower Red Lion today
Now, a watercolour painting by Holmes Winter, of Fishpool Street has been discovered and purchased in a sale 300 miles from St Albans. It’s easily identifiable as the Lower Red Lion and the surrounding houses, and the same view is in one of the etchings (plate 47) in the Museum collection. Ironically, given the concerns by Holmes Winter and Kitton, this view is very similar today, except cars have replaced the horse and cart!