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Messages - seemex

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     Good to hear from you. As for my connection, Harry Shellard was married to Alice Hunter June 7 1917 in New York. She was an art teacher from the UK. She had a brother William Lionel Hunter who lived in Philadelphia. She would be a first cousin 2X removed to me. Her father was Edmund Southam Hunter of Manchester, a brother of the man in the painting. I've also seen a photo of one of his miniatures of a lady who bears a likeness to another of the Hunter women of that era. It seems Harry and Alice lived in NY for a time but later went to Morristown, New Jersey ( 1930 census ) They both eventually returned to England.
In case I didn't mention it, I'm in Canada...Vancouver. I can be reached directly at (*)

Hope to hear more.

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Yes, the keyword is "budget" :) I spoke to a restoration service today and sent off a few pics so hope they'll get back to me with an estimate. Even just cleaning is might be over my limit bit I'll wait and see. Would be nice to have it all done in case one of my children or grandchildren might eventually see it's heirloom value.

Just to update this, I managed to get the painting out of the frame and it looks like it was originally a canvas that was, as I suspected, backed with Masonite for protection. As it's a family portrait is has no value to someone outside the family so it seems my mother took the easier and less expensive route when she had it reframed back in the 1960s.

Free Photo Restoration & Date Old Photographs / Re: Painting of William Leyland Hunter
« on: Monday 28 September 20 18:36 BST (UK)  »
I have to agree with you on the age of the subject. I know my GGF William Leyland Hunter had been in China since 1865 and only returned to England in his last years. Life in the far east could have taken a toll, but his trade was a tea inspector and later involved in exports, so not really hard labour. Still, he could have contracted illnesses that might prematurely age one. After returning to the UK he married at London in 1887 and died seven years later in 1894 ( 3 months shy of his 50th )
His father John Hunter, on the other hand, lived until 62 and died in Ulverston in 1882. Better fit?

Free Photo Restoration & Date Old Photographs / Re: Painting of William Leyland Hunter
« on: Monday 28 September 20 17:47 BST (UK)  »
I agree and I'm certainly happy to have the painting in the family. I wish I'd paid more attention some 55 years ago when my mother acquired it. When I think back I can't recall if she told me it was my great grandfather or great great grandfather. As it's the only picture of either of them in existence, to my knowledge, I'm really hoping I'll be able to nail down who it is with more certainty. I think it's important to have the information correct if possible as I hope it will stay in the family for years to come. I've used the picture as a profile shot of my great grandfather in my Ancestry Family Tree for years, but recently began to ponder it's date and circumstances. So many mysteries!

Free Photo Restoration & Date Old Photographs / Re: Painting of William Leyland Hunter
« on: Monday 28 September 20 16:47 BST (UK)  »
I know of canvas boards used in present day and back into the 1940s for sure as my aunt painted on it, but I wasn't aware of any earlier versions. My assessment of it being Masonite board was based on the backside pattern, but again, this could have been glued on later I suppose. I guess maybe the only way to tell for sure is to take it apart further. I'll add a couple of shots of the backside.

Free Photo Restoration & Date Old Photographs / Painting of William Leyland Hunter
« on: Sunday 27 September 20 20:46 BST (UK)  »
I know this section is for photos mainly, but I hope maybe there's also some art historians around. This painting was given to my mother, about 1965, by someone ( I'm assuming a family member  bt don't know who)  in England. She was told it was her grandfather, and therefore my great grandfather, William Leyland Hunter. She had it shipped home to Canada and had it reframed. The painting is oil, and I assumed it was on canvas, but because the surface was hard to the touch, I figured it had been backed to protect it. I've recently come to question whether or not it is William Leyland Hunter who died in 1894 in London or maybe his father who died in 1882.
So, I removed the paper on the back side of the frame to see what was underneath and it appears to be Masonite board, which was commonly used for paintings in the 1930s and 40s ( Masonite having been patented in 1924 in the USA ) If so, then the painting is much newer and brings into question, who the person actually is, and who painted it? I've not removed the painting from the frame at this point, but on close examination of the painted surface, one can detect what looks like canvas weave beneath the paint. There's also a couple of small chips in the painting that seem to reveal a weave under the paint.
  William Leyland Hunter died broke at the age of 49 so it's unlikely h'd have commissioned a portrait of himself and the portrait looks like and older gentleman, but men aged more in that era. There's also a possibility that the painting may have been done in the USA by his niece's husband Harry Valentine Shellard. They lived in New York and New Jersey from about 1917 until 1936. The panting could also have been of her father, Edmund Southam Hunter ( one of William Leyland's brothers ) I'll attach a photo of the painting and maybe if I can, a close-up of the chipped part. Any ideas would be appreciated. My goal is to find out if it's truly my great grandfather.

Gloucestershire / Re: SHELLARD brothers to USA and RSA
« on: Saturday 26 September 20 06:03 BST (UK)  »
Hi My name is Julie and my maiden name was Shellard. I have connections to Gloucester but the names that you mention do not ring a bell. However, when you mentioned Canada that did. Do you know of Maureen Gill who lives in Canada she is also part of the Shellard clan?



I saw a post by Maureen Gill on but couldn't answer it. I'm interested in a Harry Valentine Shellard, and artist who was born in UK about 1878. He went to the USA, arriving at NY on the Lusitania in 1913. He married Alice Southam Hunter in New York in 1917. He and his wife returned to the UK and were there in 1936 and maybe onward. He died in 1958 and his wife in 1956 I believe. May not be the same Shellards but close. They also travelled to Canada in 1923, sailing from Liverpool to Montreal. He was known for his miniature portraits as well as designs for churches etc. He did watercolor and oil paintings. If anyone knows of him or if he fits your family, I'd love to exchange info.

Immigrants & Emigrants - General / Re: Passenger lists mid 1800's.
« on: Friday 04 September 20 20:02 BST (UK)  »
There are no passenger lists, in the UK dating before 1890.
The Board of Trade didn't think them worth keeping! ::)

That's sad. All the passenger shipping that went out of Liverpool to India and China in the early years of steam after Suez opened. What a shame that there's nothing left. Blue Funnel Line and P&O carried a lot of passengers in that 1870-1890 era

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