Saturday, July 10, 2010

Some facts about George Walton

At the risk of overemphasising the great age I've recently attained (thank you so much for your good wishes, including from blogless people whom I can't thank individually such as Widget and Brigitte) I thought I'd tell you a bit about the Waltonish nature of the celebration.

George Walton (1867-1933) was born into an artistic Glasgow family and was the brother of one of the "Glasgow Boys", Edward A. Walton. George set up a decorating company and worked in the distinctive Glasgow Style - Charles Rennie Mackintosh is the most famous proponent of this. Walton designed stained glass and stencilling, furniture, fabrics and fireplaces, carpets and cutlery, metalware, glassware and graphics - almost every area of decorative work. Later he moved to London and became an architect as well.

Our family became interested in him when Daughter 1 did a school project on him at the age of 15 or 16, and we visited York at that time to look at his interior work on Elm Bank, a house which is now a hotel. So for my birthday lunch, we decided to revisit Elm Bank and admire his stained glass, metalwork, woodwork and painted and mosaic friezes. which are still there.

For some reason I didn't take any pictures of the decoration this time except this one, which gives the impression that everyone was having a terrible time, hated each other and had just fallen out. I was really photographing the windows but it might have been an idea to warn these victims that they were also in the photo. Our son-in-law seems to be the only one aware of this possibility.

Here they all are moments later, smiling nicely. My brother is holding up our book on Walton, from which some photos below are stolen (but only to encourage you all to buy the book: George Walton, Designer and Architect by Karen Moon, published by White Cockade). I have to say he's not really smiling but then he recently broke his jaw.

To explain the cake....

This is a Walton window - not at Elm Bank but in the coach house of another house, The Leys, and I really love the colours and shapes. I hope the coachmen and chauffeurs appreciated it.

When we became Walton groupies, Daughter 1 adapted the design to fit our front door and we had it made up by a stained-glass maker. Hence Daughter 2's further reimagining in the medium of cake. I imagine George W would have been surprised. It was a very tasty cake; indeed, parts of it still are.

Lovely, don't you think?

And this - quite Mackintoshy. Or maybe Mackintosh is Waltony.

This is part of Daughter 2's birthday gift to me. (Her name isn't really Boot. Why we call her Boot is ... well, it's short for Scooshieboot, but that leads to a further question to which there's no real answer. "Snoof" means "look around". It's one of my dad's many invented words. The Restaurante de Hawthornden is her flat. We're going to see Tim Vine. Some of you may remember him: he's the chap who throws a pen and catches it behind his ear. We like quality entertainment.)

This is Daughter 2's card, again adapted from a Walton window:

this one.

Part of our son's gift. He hasn't interited our daughters' artistic flair, perhaps - also he's very busy - but the thought is lovely. (And he'd be better than the girls at diagnosing your gout, repetitive strain injury, gallstones or whatever, though I trust you have none of these).
Right then, I think that may be enough about my birthday. Now I must go blog-visiting.


  1. The difference between the first family photo and the second is very amusing! Enjoyed your post - and I love looking at stained glass pictures. My friend has just embarked on learning to make stained glass. There's just something about it.

  2. Fab post... I'm always learning something new from you. And happy belated birthday! The cake is sensational - worthy of being sent to CakeWrecks... not that it is a wreck at all, far from it, but beauties are featured each Sunday.

  3. Lovely post...and a loving family obviously..the cake looks fabulous.

  4. Super stained glass, I hadn't heard of Walton so I must research further, thank you. Great cake and great thoughtful presents - we had similar to your sons from daughter at Christmas but so far haven't manged to take it (but we shall). Thanks for your comment, I've posted a reply in the comments section.

  5. I hope I'm not too late to wish you a very happy birthday month. Lovely presents. (Ours give vouchers too,) Fantastic cake design. And I love your stained glass. We had some panels made up to match the one original pane above the door. The rest had been modernised badly.

  6. What a splendidly happy and interesting birthday, and all the Walton information is fascinating.
    I have decided that next year I must follow your example and actually DO something instead of sitting quietly at home by ourselves.

  7. What lovely children you have. I think you should take all the credit for that.

    I particularly like the 'boutique cat appreciation session' part. And all the attention to detail (on the part of the daughters, anyway) on the cards and cake. Just lovely.

    Happy birthday again, although I think I did say that last time.

  8. How interesting Isabelle! I'm sorry to say, I don't think I'd heard of George Walton. I did however very much admire the stained glass in your front door, so that should count for something.

    As always, your children are fabulous. Love the gifts -- I'll bet you do too!

  9. Anonymous1:53 am

    The cake is extra lovely because of its story.

  10. How wonderful to have such a crowd of people who love you to help you celebrate your birthday. That is a lovely piece of stained glass!

  11. What a superb cake. A shame to actually cut into it.
    My mother was named Helena, but it was never used. All her long life she was called "Boot" (a relic of babyhood, when admirers said "isn't she a little beaut"


    I am immensely impressed by that cake, and all the beautiful Walton-themed items, especially the door glass.

    I wish you a wonderful year, it looks as if it has already gotten off to a great start! Cheers.

  13. Happy birthday - a bit late - but hope you had a wonderful day and it certainly looks like those delightful children of yours - spoilt you rotten! Zxx

  14. What a delightful post!
    Belated Happy Birthday wishes. Love the art in the stained glass windows, cake, and voucher.

  15. That was a very original idea for the birthday cake - it looked lovely. Stained glass windows (and other stuff such as light fittings) are always beautiful.

  16. What a wonderful way to celebrate your birthday.

    I know of Walton's work and like you admire his stained glass.

    I fear you will have to return to the hotel to get some shots of the mosaics for me!