Alfred Blundell (1883-1968)
Cavenham Mill was the home of this distinguished Suffolk artist for nearly 50 years.
From early boyhood his artistic talent was the driving force in his life.
As a young man, his employment as an auctioneer’s clerk and at the railway stations in Bury St Edmunds and Woodbridge merely provided the funds to purchase the necessary materials with which to produce more pictures.
Being a true artist, he was untroubled by the mundane practicalities of daily existence and was utterly absorbed in his passion. When it came to a choice between spending his meagre wage on food or materials, it was the later which took precedence.
Eventually, in 1920, an engraving of a scene at Loch Katrine in Scotland caught the eye of a London art dealer and he was commissioned to complete a series of six Scottish scenes which sold well. His big break had finally come at the age of 37.
Having been “discovered”, Blundell settled at the Mill and devoted himself largely thereafter to capturing the unique landscape of the Breckland area, using oils, pastels and watercolour as well as producing countless engravings. His wife, Eve, acted as his model for life drawings. He also produced pottery, undertook many commissions in sculpture and, at the advanced age of 73, took up glass engraving.
Over the years, Blundell also taught art at three schools in the Bury St Edmunds area, most notably at Culford School where he was art master from 1933 to 1945. The school still retains a gallery devoted to his work.
Blundell’s work became very popular with locally-based American servicemen during the war and post-war years. Accordingly, examples of work originating at Cavenham Mill, many featuring the mill house and stream, can now be found all over the world. He continued to produce a wide variety of work from his first floor studio at the Mill until his death in 1968.
©2000 Juliana Unicke
A Forest Heath District Council (Suffolk) Project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Millennium Festival ©2000 Designed by ArtAtac