|Charles Walmsley was born in Ambleside in 1862 and lived most of his life
in Prospect Cottage. His working life was spent as a landscape
photographer capturing images of the Lake District's villages and fells.
He began his career working as an apprentice with Moses Bowness of Ambleside who
specialised in portrait work. Walmsley however preferred landscapes.
Any portraits he did take were shot outside where possible, away from the
artificial studio environment. In 1894 he went into business with his
brother, James, and set up premises on Rydal Road. James concentrated on
portraits, whilst Charles developed techniques out of doors.
Portraits, however, provided a steady
income which allowed him to experiment more with landscape photography,
particularly developing his use of 'photogravure' - a technique whereby an image
is formed on a metal plate by a series of tiny holes. Through this
technique, Walmsley was able to produce prints quickly and cheaply. From
this, his reputation developed and he began selling his work in some of the big
city stores. He even reached America where President Woodrow Wilson had a
wall in the White House devoted entirely to Walmsley's work. Walmsley won
many prizes for his work and his most famous picture is possibly 'The Shepherd'
which was insured for the great sum of £1000 and evoked the nostalgia of a
Lakeland life now gone.
Walmsley image titled "You shall not go"
from the Armitt Collection
Walmsley was said to be a gentle, unassuming man, a staunch
Methodist and a member of the Band of Hope. He was a also a keen fisherman
and book collector. He retired in 1929 as a familiar and respected figure
and died in 1941 after a short illness in Prospect Cottage.
See and learn more of Walmsley's work in the Armitt Library and
in the book 'Victorian Lakeland Photographers' by Stephen F. Kelly, 1991