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Artist Biography

Pamela Margaret Willoughby (Gwatkin) was born Pamela Margaret Tweedle, on February 17th, 1932, in the Wirral, Birkenhead, to Alexander and Adelaide Tweedle. One of two sisters, they would be sent away to second homes during WWII as young children, which would also have a profound effect on both young girls. They both contracted polio while in secondary school which severely affected their physical strength. As Pamela grew up, her father would try to guide her away from her love of art, toward a more financially stable career in banking. 

 

In 1953, she would marry Robert. Anthony Gwatkin, (her lifelong childhood sweetheart), and they would have one son, called Daniel.

 

Ms. Tweedle would go on to attend the Laird School of Art, Birkenhead in 1948 and would continue her art training at The Royal Academy, London. She was admitted on the 9th of December 1952, on the recommendation of the  Principal of the Laird School of Art, Birkenhead.  She resigned as a student in June of 1954.  The Keeper of the RA Schools at this time was Sir Henry Rushbury, one of the great Keepers in the RA’s history, memorialized by his students to this day. Ms. Tweedle would have worked in the Painting and Drawing Schools, in which Rushbury notes in his annual report for 1953,

“Students are working very hard, and the general standard is high.  Their painting is showing the development and the work done in Still Life has greatly helped them in their understanding of tone and color.  Drawing from the figure is good.”  The latter is a reference to the Life School, where students would draw from the Living Model.  The principal tutors in the Schools at this time were William Dring ARA and Bernard Fleetwood-Walker ARA, supported by an aging and ailing Charles Genge, who was Curator.

Ms. Willoughby would move to Wales with her husband in 1960 where they spent their time restoring medieval houses. One, in particular, would become their home for many years called Pwllirwch, a medieval cruck-framed long hall located near Darowen, Machynlleth. (the first building to be listed in the area) The isolated, difficult-to-reach house, which was in a mostly unspoiled location, would inspire many of her subsequent landscape paintings while, at the same time bringing up her son, Daniel.  

After witnessing the destruction of many rural areas by the Forestry Commission in the 1970s, she decided to start the "Forestry Action Group" which helped bring attention to the economic costs and senseless cutting down of indigenous forests in England and Wales for the plantation of nonindigenous conifers forests. The action group would eventually see progress with a white paper passed through parliament for the protection of indigenous forests.

Having spent many years fighting for the conservation of indigenous forests, she once again turned her attention to painting. This would be a difficult task due to the weakness suffered from polio as a teenager. After visiting her son in South Africa in the early 1990s while he was working there, she was once again inspired to paint, the atmosphere and climate-created colors would give her the desire to paint the Welsh countryside once again. The visit to SA would begin her final painting period in the 90s and would continue until her death in March 1998 at her home in Powys. This period would produce her largest body of work with over 100 works of Art. Some of these paintings are shown here and are a testament to Pamela Willoughby's (Gwatkin) love of the Welsh landscape.

 

In 1953, she would marry Robert. Anthony Gwatkin, (her lifelong childhood sweetheart), and they would have one son, called Daniel.

 

Ms. Tweedle would go on to attend the Laird School of Art, Birkenhead in 1948 and would continue her art training at The Royal Academy, London. She was admitted on the 9th of December 1952, on the recommendation of the  Principal of the Laird School of Art, Birkenhead.  She resigned as a student in June of 1954.  The Keeper of the RA Schools at this time was Sir Henry Rushbury, one of the great Keepers in the RA’s history, memorialized by his students to this day. Ms. Tweedle would have worked in the Painting and Drawing Schools, in which Rushbury notes in his annual report for 1953,

“Students are working very hard, and the general standard is high.  Their painting is showing the development and the work done in Still Life has greatly helped them in their understanding of tone and color.  Drawing from the figure is good.”  The latter is a reference to the Life School, where students would draw from the Living Model.  The principal tutors in the Schools at this time were William Dring ARA and Bernard Fleetwood-Walker ARA, supported by an aging and ailing Charles Genge, who was Curator.

Ms. Willoughby would move to Wales with her husband in the late 1950s where they spent their time restoring medieval houses. One, in particular, would become their home for many years called Pwllirwch, a medieval cruck-framed long hall located near Darowen, Machynlleth. (the first building to be listed in the area) The isolated, difficult-to-reach house, which was in a mostly unspoiled location, would inspire many of her subsequent landscape paintings while, at the same time bringing up her son, Daniel.  

After witnessing the destruction of many rural areas by the Forestry Commission in the 1970s, she decided to start the "Forestry Action Group" which helped bring attention to the economic costs and senseless cutting down of indigenous forests in England and Wales for the plantation of nonindigenous conifers forests. The action group would eventually see progress with a white paper passed through parliament for the protection of indigenous forests.

Having spent many years fighting for the conservation of indigenous forests, she once again turned her attention to painting. This would be a difficult task due to the weakness suffered from polio as a teenager. After visiting her son in South Africa in the early 1990s while he was working there, she was once again inspired to paint, the atmosphere and climate-created colors would give her the desire to paint the Welsh countryside once again. The visit to SA would begin her final painting period in the 90s and would continue until her death in March 1998 at her home in Powys. This period would produce her largest body of work with over 100 works of Art. Some of these paintings are shown here and are a testament to Pamela Willoughby's (Gwatkin) love of the Welsh landscape.

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Charcoal on paper,portrait of Pamela M. Willoughby, by Robert A. Gwatkin

Pamela M. Willoughby (Gwatkin)

Photography aged 46

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At her home in Cemmaes Powys, shows her great love for cats, she is pictured here with Harvey, who had come with the property when they bought it in 1983.

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