Artisans of Influence

Arthur Simpson of Kendal 1857-1922

Arthur William Simpson (1857-1922), a native of Kendal, served his apprenticeship as a wood carver at Gillow’s of Lancaster. He left in 1879 and spent the following years as a journeyman carver working in Leicester and London before returning to Kendal and setting up a workshop in 1885. He Read more

Alvar Aalto (1898-1976)

Finish architect and furniture designer whose work during the 1920s and 30s had an enormous impact on 20thC design. Although mass-produced, Aalto’s furniture is highly original, distinguished by clean, simple lines and curves, and the innovative use of materials such as moulded plywood and tubular steel.

1898 Born in Kuortane, Read more


Banksy is probably a famous, unknown English graffiti artist whose authenticated work commands very high prices! He has managed to elude the media and hide his identity for many years. There is speculation that he is possibly named Robert Banks (pictured), but know one can ber certain. His artworks Read more

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 – 1930)

Arthur Conan Doyle was born on 22 May 1859 in Edinburgh into a prosperous Irish family. He trained as a doctor, gaining his degree from Edinburgh University in 1881. He worked as a surgeon on a whaling boat and also as a medical officer on a steamer travelling between Read more

Roald Dahl 1916-1990

Best-selling author of children’s books
Place of Birth: Cardiff
Author of many of the UK’s favourite children’s books, Roald Dahl created magical worlds with a dark undercurrent in classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG.
He was born to Norwegian parents in the Llandaff Read more

Oscar Wilde 1854-1900

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin on 16 October 1854. His father was a successful surgeon and his mother a writer and literary hostess.
Wilde was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and Magdalen College, Oxford. While at Oxford, Wilde became involved in the aesthetic movement. After he Read more

Lord Byron (1788-1824)

George Gordon Noel, sixth Baron Byron, was born on 22 January 1788 in London. His father died when he was three, with the result that he inherited his title from his great uncle in 1798.
Byron spent his early years in Aberdeen and was educated at Harrow School and Cambridge Read more

Jane Austen (1775 – 1817)

Jane Austen was an English novelist whose books, set among the English middle and upper classes, are notable for their wit, social observation and insights into the lives of early 19th century women.
Born: December 16, 1775, Steventon
Died: July 18, 1817, Winchester
Full name: Jane Austen
Education: The Abbey School, Reading
Siblings: Cassandra Read more

Herbert George Wells (1866-1946)

English novelist, journalist, sociologist, and historian, whose science fiction stories have been filmed many times. H.G. Wells’s best known works are The Time Machine (1895), one of the first modern science fiction stories, The Invisible Man (1897), and The War Of The Worlds (1898). Wells wrote over a hundred Read more

William Morris (1834 – 1896)

William Morris (1834–1896) was the single most influential designer of the nineteenth century. Morris was a political theorist, scholar, translator and publisher, an environmental campaigner, writer and poet as well as an outstanding designer. Under his direction Morris & Co. grew into a flourishing and fashionable decorating firm renowned Read more