Paul Maze, the Last of the Impressionists by Paul Schofield

On Friday 23rd November 2018 The Wincanton and District Museum and History Society, held a very interesting talk by Phillip Scholfield, entitled “Paul Maze, the Last of the Impressionists”.

Phillip Schofield had first come across this remarkable man whilst a schoolboy – finding Paul Maze’s book in the school library.  This led to a lifelong interest in his paintings, and his life.

A Frenchman, Paul Maze was born in France in 1887.   His parents were wealthy, and artistic, whose circle of friends included Claude Monet and Pissarro.  These artists encouraged Paul to sketch and always carry a sketchpad and pencil.   He very quickly learnt the art, catching a scene quickly and accurately.   At the age of 12 he was sent to boarding school in England and fell in love with all things English.   In fact, he eventually became an English Citizen.

His artwork continued, but he began work in his father’s Company, although he always wanted to be an artist.   After some time he did start travelling and painting but WW1 loomed and he returned home.   As it turned out he joined the British Army and was wounded three times whilst in the thick of war.   Here his artistic talent came in useful, as he sketched the landscape etc., which could be of use of the Army.

After the war he married an English lady and lived in Scotland, Chelsea and Midhurst and eventually back to Paris where they separated.   Paul was involved with one of his models (Scottish) and they married in 1950.   He continued as an artist, but WW2 was on the horizon and he and family returned to England.  By now he was a friend of Churchill and they often painted together.  Now involved in his second War he become Personal Staff Officer to Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris.

A prolific artist, he painted in England, countryside scenes, New York, busy city scenes and French Maritime scenes.  Various Military and ceremonial celebrations were also amongst his paintings, of which there were many.  Henley Regatta, Trooping of the Colour, and yatching at Cowes.  This interesting artist survived two Wars.  Throughout it all he remained an artist at heart, and died in England in 1979.

Many thanks were expressed to Mr. Schofield for his very interesting talk.

Nigel Fox and John Baxter speak to Town Council 12th Feb.

Nigel introduced John to the Town Council who were all given a leaflet summarising Bioletti’s life and they both spoke of how publicising Bioletti and John’s book Surviving Napoleon could make a positive effect on Wincanton the wider his remarkable story is known.  The possibility of getting a Blue Plaque for his home in the High Street was raised and the response of the council who have been given a copy of the book to circulate amongst them, seemed very positive and the Town Clerk, Ms Sam Atherton also spoke of the stream of Bioletti descendants who have already been visiting Wincanton to see where he lived and to get a copy of the book.  Both John and Nigel felt the meeting had gone very well.

JJB

Dr Terry Stanford. Preparing for the Worst- World War 2. 24th Feb

Terry  earned his Ph.D. for his study of the history of the Metropolitan Police so he was  well prepared to give us a memorable talk, illustrated not by sldes but by bringing with him some amazing artefacts, the most surprising being an enrmous contraption which turned out to be a gas mask for a baby.

He told us how in the run up to the war there was in fact a great deal of preparation carried out, including the doubling of the size of the Met.  This was mainly done by the recall of the recently retired and the refusal of resignations.  This then provided the manpower needed to supervise the wholesale  evacuation of children to new and usually unknown homes around the country and to prepare for the coming of the dreaded blitz..

Then there was the imposition of a blackout, for it was recognised that night time bombers needed to see their targets.  A whole system of street wardens was set up to make sure the blackout rules were enforced and large numbers of police were kept on standby so that they could be rushed to bombed areas to give assistance along with ambulances and firefighters.  One perk for the police was that they were provided with their main meal when on duty which meant their rations went further and kept up morale.

Terry’s talk painted a vivid picture of an extreme and terrifying time when the UK was standing alone before the might of an aggressive and malevolent dictatorship bent on the invasion of England and prevented from doing so only by the men in the fighter aircraft overhead.

John Baxter