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William Ratcliffe lived and worked in Letchworth Garden City for much of his life. He was a member of the famous Camden Town Group of artists.
Ratcliffe moved to the new Garden City of Letchworth around 1906 to work as a designer, but was encouraged by his neighbour, the artist Harold Gilman, to have further art training in London. The period 1911–1914 is recognised as his most creative period. There is significant development in his work and the influence of Harold Gilman and Lucien Pissarro is most evident. In 1914 Ratcliffe had returned from Sweden where he stayed with Stanley Parker (brother of Barry Parker, architect in Letchworth Garden City) and his family. The oil painting leaning against the wall in the background is 'Summer Landscape, Sweden', painted in 1913. This painting is now in a private collection.
Although he regularly exhibited both oils and watercolours, Ratcliffe was never commercially successful. He never married, and after his death in 1955 the residue of his studio (180 works, mainly drawings and watercolours) was given by his family to Letchworth Museum.
The Studio Interior
oil on canvas
H 49.5 x W 49.5 cm
purchased from Bonhams with the assistance of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, the Art Fund and the Hertfordshire Heritage Fund, 2006