Paintings by National service veteran in Spain

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Freddie Harrison: vascular dementia lead to painting cease.
Freddie Harrison: vascular dementia lead to painting cease.

  • Quote: ‘Freddie developed vascular dementia and all painting, fishing, signwriting and making dry-fishing flies ceased’.

By Andrew Atkinson

Landscape paintings by National service veteran C. F. Harrison who served with the peacekeeping forces in Germany until 1949 are in Murcia after being snapped up for a paltry £40.

Former Preston, Lancashire, Council painter and decorator ‘Freddie’ Harrison travelled across Europe to paint rural scenes, including in Galgate and Glasson Dock, Cumbria’s Eden valley and Derbyshire.

The watercolur paintings were purchased by Cheshire businessman Tony Heath: “I’ve always liked art, but never been a collector,” Tony told The Leader.

Tony, who is semi-retiring to the Mar Menor in Murcia, said: “After having bought the new place in Spain I thought it would be nice to have some home grown Northern art.


Tony Heath purchased watercolours for £40.

“In addition to the paintings by C.F. Harrison I have also purchased some Leigh Lambert and Tom Dodson paintings.”

After purchasing the paintings Tony, 55, made a request for information – seen by the family of Prestonian Charles Frederick Harrison.

“He exhibited a painting at the Harris Art Gallery Preston – he left behind dozens of paintings,” said Freddie’s step-son Michael Entwistle.

“None had ever been sold,” he added.

Freddie worked as a freelance signwriter and his paintings included a painting of the Pantheon column scrolls at the Harris Art Gallery and Museum.

Michael, whose mother Evelyn married Freddie in 1983, said: “Fred was single minded when it came to painting, fishing, and signwriting. He had an extraordinary eye for detail, shade and shadow.

“At times eccentric, he always strived for perfection. He mainly worked in water colours and liked to paint landscapes and wildlife scenes.

“A lot of his work was inspired by his fishing trips to Yorkshire, Cumbria and Wales where he particularly enjoyed fishing the Eden, Eamont and Wye river.

“A lot of his paintings are scenes of bridges over rivers.”

Keen fisherman Freddie enjoyed fly fishing at Appleby and was a member of the Yorkshire fly fishing club.

“He was very artistic. Fred also made all his own flies. He would while-away many an hour creating delicate and beautiful multi-coloured flies in his bedroom.”

Other hobbies included crown green bowls and was a prize winning bowler.

“Unfortunately, Fred developed vascular dementia around 2010 and all painting, fishing, signwriting and making dry flies ceased,” said Michael.

Freddie first lived on Great George Street attending the Little Mission School on Acregate Lane, aged five to seven; St Matthew’s primary school, New Hall Lane aged seven to 11 and Ribbleton Avenue C.of E. school aged 11 to 14, before attending technical college aged 14 -16. He then took an architect’s  apprenticeship.

“He was not interested in sweeping floors and making tea – he wanted to do technical drawing – so left the apprenticeship,” said Michael.

The six C. F. Harrison paintings had been removed from a stairway in 1990 – and placed in the attic.

Tony, who runs a specialist electric cable family business in St Helens, said: “C. F. Harrison was a very talented man. The paintings are to take pride of place in my new house in Spain. These are originals – I just like the look of them.”

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