River Medway artist identified

The identity of an artist who painted barges on the River Medway has been discovered, thanks to the help of followers on Facebook.

In June, the Rochester Bridge Trust asked followers of its Facebook page if they could help identify the artist C Tait, whose name appears on a recent acquisition.

The post was shared far and wide and viewed thousands of times, prompting a number of possible leads for Archives and Records Manager Alison Cable to follow, and one of the first suggestions made now looks to be the right answer.

Charles Grigg Tait, 1915-1996, was born in Wales but is best known as a Maldon artist, having moved to the Essex town in the 1930s. He taught art at Maldon Secondary School, which later became Plume School, served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, and retired from teaching in 1975. He was also a founder of the Maldon Art Club, and wrote several books.

While it had been thought the painting in question was from circa 1910, the date was not confirmed, and having contacted Mr Tait’s daughter, we are happy to see our painting is in a style similar to his early work. Now the only question remaining is when the watercolour was actually made.

The painting has now been added to the Trust’s collection of art works, which have been selected as offering a visual record of the changing landscape around Rochester’s Bridges – many of which date to a time when paintings and sketches were the only way of making such a record.