History of King’s Lynn in 100 Objects, No13: Walter Dexter’s Portrait of a Lynn Fishergirl

KL Museum ANL-150326-155713001
KL Museum ANL-150326-155713001

This week’s object is a Portrait of a Lynn Fishergirl by King’s Lynn artist, Walter Dexter, from the museum’s fine art collection.

The painting is strikingly lifelike and it appears as though the girl may open her eyes at any moment.

You can see several more examples of Dexter’s work on display at the Lynn Museum.

Walter Dexter was born in 1876 in Wellingborough and brought up in King’s Lynn.

As a boy he was taught to paint by Henry Baines, the well-known local artist. From 1892 he trained at the Birmingham School of Art.

On completing college, Dexter travelled in Europe, studying and painting.

He was fascinated by the Medieval architecture and the ‘Old Masters’ of the Dutch and Flemish schools.

In 1904 Dexter finished two paintings of A Workshop and on the strength of these he became a member of the Royal Society of British Artists. He was employed as an art master from 1915, firstly at Bolton Grammar School and later at King Edward VII Grammar School in King’s Lynn. He also worked as a commercial artist producing advertising material for local schools, societies, the King’s Lynn Docks, and the Midland and Great Northern Railway.

One of Dexter’s many inspirations was the Great Ouse River with its wildlife and ships. Years later he recalled standing on the seabank watching the fishing fleet depart to the North Sea.

Dexter died in 1958 aged 82 after being struck by a motorcycle in the Saturday Market Place. He is buried at East Winch.