Some anecdotes from Harold Murray’s Kaleidoscope

Oscar_Browning_(crop)Joe and Arthur Rank


“The richest man I ever knew was Joseph Rank, the flour miller whose quiet son, Arthur Rank, the film magnate, is so much in the news today. There were only three lines about ‘Joe Rank’ in Who’s Who. He was said at one time to be worth twenty millions. No one knows how many millions he gave away. Again and again I heard him say he stayed in business as an octogenarian in order to make money to give away. He refused titles and honours except the freedom if the city of Hull…This remarkable man had his little eccentricities, as millionaires generally do have. He told me he couldn’t stand journalists; they were always telling lies about him…In the ’14-18 war he handed over, it was said, a few million pounds to a Board of Trustees for the extension of Methodism. One of the last occasions on which I met Mr Arthur Rank was at the opening of a Methodist milk bar in Battersea, when he, with his wife, served behind the counter. His interest in films began when he warmly supported a campaign for religious films …”


Oscar Browning


“One of the most interesting men I then met at Bexhill was Oscar Browning (above right)  the famous “ O.B.” of Cambridge, a plump, bald-headed, Pickwickian little man, who, when over eighty years of age, would go down to the sea very early in the morning and bathe, whatever the weather. Continue reading

Scary monsters – artist (almost) unknown

This truly horrible image is the stuff of nightmares. I can’t quite relate the birds, if indeed they are birds, to anything in nature, so I will assume that the etcher, one J. B. Kenrick, was on something at the time, or just had a rather lurid imagination.

But exactly who was the etcher? I’ve tried every source, but cannot find anyone matching that name in any reference work listing artists. The only candidates I can locate are Joseph and Josephus Kendrick, who were both sculptors. It is possible that one of these may have decided to drop the letter  ‘d’ in their name. And as I also acquired two other, much smaller, much less accomplished etchings with the same signature, which depict some sinister monkeys sitting in a circle, it could be that one of these sculptors amused himself with etching some time in the early or mid nineteenth century. Or the etcher could be a gifted amateur called Kenrick who has escaped the attention of art historians.

It did occur to me that in depicting monkeys Kenrick might have been attempting a satiric comment on Darwin, but the horrific ‘ birds’ don’t seem to be satirical in any way. I would, however, welcome any interpretation of this image ---the more outlandish the better. [RH]