Franck William Yvon Moore (1913-2004), reminiscences of his son Munro Moore
Franck William Yvon Moore was born on the 25th July 1913 in Isleworth Middlesex. He was the third child of Harry Edgar Moore and Louise Emmelie Zoe (Nee Podevin). Harry was a senior language master at Isleworth Grammar school; he spoke six modern languages plus Latin and Greek. He used to take groups of young people to France; on one of his trips he met Louise in Caen. They married in August 1909 and lived in Isleworth. Franck had an older sister, Louise and a brother Harry. In the photo taken at Christmas 1914 Franck is eighteen months old.
Franck had three younger sisters, twins Ina and Ada and young Fee. The following photo is of Franck, his brother and his four sisters in 1929.
French was the only language spoken at home. Franck’s mother taught all the children at home. The authorities insisted that Franck attend a local school. In April 1921 Franck went to Spring Grove Mixed School, he was nearly eight. Although Franck had lived in England since he was born he only spoke French, he had to learn to speak English. When Franck left that school in July 1924, the headmaster, Bertram Kay wrote “I invariably found him a conscientious hardworking boy, who made the most of his opportunities. He always worked admirably. I was delighted to notice of late his enthusiastic attitude, his gentlemanly bearing, and his general willingness and responsiveness”
Some early examples of Franck’s art work are as follows;
In 1924 Franck with his elder brother attended Isleworth County Grammar, the same grammar school as his father taught at, Franck found that very difficult. He always thought he was being watched. He said he deliberately played up as a kind of protest, got in trouble with the headmaster; his father had Victorian ideas of discipline and would cane Franck. This made him more rebellious; Franck had to do his homework on a large table sitting alone working opposite his father.
His school reports were generally good; the best comments were for art. Some of the comments for art are as follows; summer 1925: good, he expresses himself well, winter1927: very good. His illustrative work has improved, summer 1928: very good. He has made progress. The tone and colour qualities of his work are very good. See below his school report for spring 1928. He left the school in 1929.
His brother Harry, eighteen months older, always had his own way. Franck though he was a bully, not the physical type more mental manipulation. Once Franck’s father asked everybody what they would like, Harry requested a motor bike and got it, Franck got an orange. Franck is on the left, this photo was taken in 1927.
Franck told me that his father read a lot, mostly philosophy and foreign books. His dad was very interested in literature less so in the theatre and other art forms. Franck’s father was a Quaker; he recalled being taken to the Quaker meeting hall and being so bored he counted the knots in the wood. As an adult, Franck did not have any time for religion. His father liked to impress others outside the family and brought all sort of waifs and strays home. Externally he was very generous but at home money was not easy.
See below a photo taken in September 1929 and some of Franck’s paintings of his mother and father;
Franck’s mother was very interested in art. She painted; in 1947 she had the following painting exhibited in the Royal Academy London. She also painted the following portrait of her father, Franck’s grandfather. Franck was closer to his mother.
She made tapestries from black and white photographs the size of a post card, each of her six children were given a tapestry 100 centimetres by 130 centimetres. Franck’s tapestry was made in 1935.
I can remember staying with my grandparents in both Beech Lodge and College Road; the first photo is of my grandparents as I remember them. The second photo is my grandparents’ extended family including nine grandchildren taken at their golden wedding celebrations in 1959.
My grandfather was very serious, in the morning I would have lessons, they were very structured. The French lessons started off with having to draw the mouth and the position of the tongue to make the various sounds. I was given books to read and had to answer questions on them later. In the afternoon we would go to the park, sometimes to Kew Gardens and he would tell me the Latin names of all the plants. We would spend hours talking mostly about philosophy and politics while stopping for a cup of tea and cake. Every Sunday it was church. I did go with him to the Quaker hall a couple of times but more frequently he took me to a Methodist church in Hounslow. I know he was a stickler, you had to mind your p’s and q’s but for a product of a Victorian era I did not find him that bad.
My grandmother only spoke French, every afternoon she would be making a tapestry, she was very different. She was fun and had a wicked sense of humour. Because of my lack of French I could not talk to her so deeply. I also remember how difficult it was for her after Annie died (Annie had worked as a maid since shortly after my grandparents married, Annie lived in). My grandmother in her seventies had to speak to the milk man in English, a language she never really mastered although she lived in England for over fifty years. She must have been very lonely in England.
Franck studied drawing and pictorial design at Willesden School of Art from 1929 until 1933. See photos of Franck in 1929 and 1930. His father would only allow Franck to go to art college providing he also trained as a teacher; he had to have a reliable source of income.
Franck painted several self-portraits. For example the first photo is of one painted in 1931, the second one in 1932 was painted with his left hand as an experiment, Franck was right handed.
From 1933 to 1936 he studied for a diploma in drawing and painting at the Royal College of Art in London.
He attended Goldsmith College, part of the University of London in 1936/37 where he took a special post graduate course for Royal College of Art students to be teachers at the same time he studied the history of art at the Coutauld Institute. In 1936 he was able to add ARCA after his name and in 1937 ATD. One of his lecturers at the Courtauld Institute was Alec Clifton-Taylor, the architectural historian; they kept in touch for most of Alec’s life.
In 1934 he painted the following picture.
While at college in 1936 he painted a series of 6 nursery rhyme panels in oil on wood for Chatsworth Infants School in Heston Middlesex. Each panel was 4ft by 5ft 6ins in bright primary colours. The panels represent “Little Miss Muffet”, “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary” “Little Bo-Peep”, “Jack and Jill”, “See-Saw” and “4 and 20 Blackbirds”
The Middlesex chronicle recorded the event on the 18th July 1936
The following year he was commissioned to make a sculpture for the same school, a squirrel bird bath 5ft high in Aldhelm Box Grained Bath Stone. The second photo is of the squirrel in 2014 still standing at Chatsworth Infants School
In September 1938 Franck was appointed art master at Ealing County Grammar Boys School. He was employed there until 1942.
In 1939 he fell for a French girl, Genevieve, who came to see her brother Guy who was having English coaching with Franck’s father. He never met her alone. They corresponded regularly, he hoped it would lead to marriage but because of the outbreak of war they were unable to meet.
From 1938 until 1945 he designed and constructed stage sets at Unity Theatre in his spare time, a very active and well respected left wing theatre company. Some copies of set drawings as follows;
It was at Unity Theatre that he met Gladys Gertrude Elizabeth Creasey; she helped with administration and played the piano. They were married at Marylebone Town Hall on the 30th December 1941. Franck told me he could not take women home, so he married secretly and presented my mother to her in-laws. That must have been very difficult for her especially as she did not speak French.
In 1938 Franck did some part-time teaching at Mansfield Art School in Nottingham, this gave him a lot of time to paint pit heads and miners. These paintings were displayed in the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1939.
In 1939/1941 Franck did voluntary work for St Johns ambulance having passed all his St Johns and Red Cross exams.
Franck’s father was against war and would have been a conscientious objector. Franck was in a protected occupation. His politics were very much supporting the communist ideal. When Russia was being attacked by Hitler in 1941 he wanted to join the Air Sea Rescue, he was rejected on the grounds of his occupation.
During the war he was employed as a so called education officer; his task was lecturing government propaganda. He was one of five who worked for the civil defence organisations. The five were offered a rank but they all refused. They were briefed regularly in London and had to say what a wonderful life there would be after the war including new ideas on town planning and the legal system. Franck said that occasionally he managed to fit in some propaganda of his own from articles he had read in the Daily Worker, at all times someone from the Ministry was sitting at the back of the room, he would enquire where Franck got that information from. Franck said he was prepared for the question and usually managed to find a press cutting from the Times which referred to the same matter in a milder way.
From 1942 he worked fulltime for the National Fire Service as a fireman working on the fire tender boats on the Thames; he was based at London Bridge. Franck would not talk to me about this period of his life, my mother said it was horrendous and frightening to be on the Thames with flames all around, he sometimes had to fire fight for 48 hours without sleep. Just walking the streets of London was extremely hazardous. Franck said the street immediately in front of you could suddenly disappear under a huge explosion with people trapped under huge chunks of debris
Franck in 1942
I was born in the summer of 1943; we lived in a flat near Regents Park in London.
In February 1945 he was employed as art master at Tollington School, in Muswell Hill, London until December 1946. Headmaster, J Westgate-Smith wrote in January 1950;
“His value as a teacher, his vision, his breath of mind, and, above all his enthusiasm impressed me greatly. Mr Moore completely transformed the meaning of Art in the school; His conception of his subject is broad and vital. Boys who had grown weary of pencil and paint brush found unexpected interest in the subject as it was taught by Mr Moore”.
My sister Karen was born in the summer of 1946; we lived in a flat in Parliament Hill near Hampstead Heath.
Franck was a member of the Central and Exhibitions Committees for the Artists’ International Association from 1944 to 1946. He was a member of both Hampstead and St Pancras Arts and Civic Councils from 1945 to 1947
Franck was an examiner in art for London University GCEs from 1946 to 1978 and Chief Examiner in A level Art for Southern University Joint Board from 1970 to 1981. He was also an examiner for other organisations such as life drawing for U of L and C. I Manchester from 1956 to 1970 and Pictorial Composition and Mural Painting and in history and methods of production for U E I Birmingham from 1956.
Our house was always full of parcels in July, great for my stamp collection. Franck would have to shut himself away while he marked the exam papers. I would assist by cross checking the bundles before they were returned.
Franck was seconded to Freckleton Training College near Preston, Lancashire, when it opened in 1947. The college was set up as an emergency teachers training scheme to meet the post war requirement of teachers and to retrain ex-service personnel. He was the senior lecturer in Art and Craft. The college was on a recently disused US army base, we lived on the base. My sister Tonia was born in in the summer of
Franck exhibited at the Harris Gallery in Preston, Lancashire in 1950. Previously he had held a number of exhibitions in London including the Whitechapel Art Gallery, A.I.A Gallery London and R.B.A. Gallery in London.
Franck attended a pottery course at Burslam School of Art in 1949. We all had plates with our names on; unfortunately virtually all of Franck’s pottery has been broken.
In August 1950 the college had completed its task and closed. J Willatt, the Principal of the college wrote in September 1950;
“Mr F W Y Moore has been a senior Lecturer in Art and Craft at this College since we opened in January 1947 and has been responsible for the courses in Art and Craft for those students who chose this as one of their two optional subjects, many of whom have found or hope to find posts as specialists; he has also organised and conducted a most useful and appreciated course in each session for students interested in Junior school teaching and, with his colleague, has stimulated and directed the activities of a most successful Art Club for the students in general. Since the courses have been planned to cover everything likely to be taught in primary and secondary schools, the range has been extremely wide, though of course individual students have had to limit their activates to one or two crafts at a high standard with a varying background of acquaintance with the remainder.
Mr Moore himself is a man of untiring industry, wide knowledge and exceptional ability. His skill as a painter has been recognised by the acceptance of his work in a number of exhibitions but he is extremely versatile and I can think of many branches of Art and its associated Crafts in which his work reaches a high level of competence. He is by no means a man of limited interests. He has strong opinions and expresses them confidently and persuasively. His background of general knowledge is sound. He is well-read and in every sense a man of culture.
Mr Moore’s knowledge of the problems of Art teaching at all stages is comprehensive. Moreover he has taken full advantage of the opportunity presented by his visits to supervise the general teaching practice of our students, to broaden his specialised experience and assess the method and content of his own subject against the background of the curriculum as a whole. He has a very good understanding of children’s nature and needs.
I am confident that Mr Moore’s ability, experience, and temperament fit him very well for a specialist post of responsibility in a Training College or Art School or as an Organiser. His work is characterised by vigour, honesty of purpose and clear straight-forward aims. His judgements of students have been accurate and fair. He is open-minded about what appear to be more extravagant experiments in artistic expression and provided fundamentals are sound, he is ready to encourage the fullest freedom. He is rightly harsh about insincerity and carelessness
He is insistent on tidiness in his Art rooms and has a well developed sense of the importance of details of administration and organisation. He is highly skilled in the planning and mounting of exhibitions and we have profited from his interest in and knowledge of stagecraft. His relationship with students have been pleasant and firm and I have found him an excellent colleague. ”
My sister Annette was born in the autumn of 1950. My parents purchased their first house in Barnet.
The last local authority to employ Franck had to reemploy him so the family moved south. In January 1951 he was appointed as a lecturer at Willesden College of Art. He was appointed deputy head in 1957.
Middlesex County Council decided that they wanted to reduce the number of art colleges in the county from three to two; Willesden College of Art was to close in 1958. The headmaster of the college, Mr J Drew wrote in April 1958.
“I have known Mr F W Y Moore for the last six years, since January 1951, when he was appointed to the full time staff at this school. He is mainly in charge of the art instruction of the Secondary Art School of two forms of 30 students each where 50 per cent of the students’ time is spent on art education.
He was appointed because the Committee felt that Mr Moore’s previous experience of teaching in secondary, grammar schools and in a teacher training college, fitted him for the exacting job of teaching art subjects in a Secondary Art School.
His classes have been remarkable for the comprehensive quality and high standard of the art instruction through all subjects, life and costume drawing, commercial design, illustrations, object drawing, figure composition, carving, model making have all been taught with great understanding and enthusiasm, this standard of work has been achieved with mixed classes at various stages of development.
The high standard of work shown annually in the exhibitions of the Secondary Art School reflects the quality of his teaching, and his sympathetic understanding of his students. In addition he is a painstaking and inspiring lecturer.
In addition to these duties he has been responsible for two years for the courses for teachers in primary and secondary schools. These classes of teachers have been well handled with a knowledge of teaching methods and an insight into the difficulties and problems of these teachers which has been appreciated by them.
In 1953 he was given a special responsibility allowance in view of the high standard of the work reached in all his classes and in 1957 was made Deputy Head of the school.
I have found Mr Moore to be a teacher of exceptional ability based on wide experience with a genuine enthusiasm for his work, and he has a distinct flair for organisation and is well equipped to assume responsibility. As a person of reliability and integrity I can recommend Mr Moore with confidence”.
In 1958 Franck was appointed head of art at Longdean Comprehensive School in Hemel Hempstead a position he held until his retirement in 1978 (he worked part-time from 1973). This was not Franck’s favourite assignment, he preferred to work with and teach adults. I did not go to the same school my father taught at, I remember meeting somebody once who when she knew of my connection to Franck said she went to Longdean school, she did not study art but remembers that one day her class did not have a teacher, all the pupils were fooling around, Franck was trying to work quietly in the adjoining classroom. He went into the disruptive class, produced a painting and for the next half hour he discussed with them the one painting, he captivated the class.
In 1955 my parents purchased a couple of cottages with an adjoining unused bakers shop on the edge of the common in Redbourn, Hertfordshire.
Franck designed the cover of the village magazine, The Redbourn Common Round. See below a copy of the magazine and a photograph of the elm trees on the centre of the common with our house in the background.
Franck was asked by the vicar of St Mary’s church in Redbourn to design a cross for a side alter. See below;
Franck designed a rear wheel cover for a Suzuki dealership.
We used to go on holiday to Winchelsea Beach in Sussex, Franck always took his easel and paint box, one year we walked to Rye Harbour, Franck decided to paint a boat, the tide was going out, the sun was setting and we kept waiting for him to finish the painting, he kept cursing the changing light, we walked the three miles back home to our cottage across the fields in the dark.
In 1958 my parents decided to buy a large car a 1933 Rolls Royce for £120 and took us to Norfolk for a holiday.
Grandmothers visit to Redbourn
In 1972 Franck and my mother Peta had the old bake ovens removed and created Redbourn Studio and Gallery, the gallery had a number of one man exhibitions including paintings by John Bratby, Joan Hutt, Ray Pearce, Robert Wright and David Cleepen. The gallery always had a good display of jewellery. Franck and Peta operated the gallery from 1972 to 1980
While in Redbourn Franck gave art lessons and talks. Franck had lectured on many aspects of art including historical and contemporary aspects from 1938 until 2000. I can remember one in particular when he used the photo of a pilot going through the sound barrier when talking about the realism of Photography and Art.
Photo 1: The Battle Begins; at first will-power keeps the chin high and mouth firm.
Photo 2: Resistance Cracks; Pressure increases to 180 mph and mouth begins to tear
Photo 3: The Last Stand; with the wind in his teeth, his cheeks crumple like a paper bag
Photo 4: Total Collapse; 310 mph All control gone and the slipstream’s got him
One of Franck’s students once told me he liked going to Franck’s art classes but found it difficult when he had finished his masterpiece. Franck would walk by,
study it, and grunt “Very good, well get on with it then” and walk away. To Franck a painting was never finished.
It was never easy to buy one of Franck’s paintings. Sometimes visitors to our home would ask Franck if they could buy a painting. Every wall at home always had a great display. Franck would ignore the comment, secretly glowing because they liked the work, the visitor would have to ask a couple of times and eventually Franck would ask them where they proposed to hang the painting, even on a few occasions inspecting the location before agreeing a sale. This reluctance to sell his work would sometimes upset my mother as we were not well off, six of us living on a teacher’s salary.
Franck was always busy, teaching, lecturing, marking exam papers, and with my mother bringing up four children. Franck once said he only got married to have children, then on another occasion regretted having children because it limited the time he had to paint. A corner of the garage in our house in Barnet was made into a studio, but it was freezing cold in the winter, in the summer Franck was always marking exam papers so it was not used very often. Copy of painting created in the garage.
My sister Annette with Franck before his new studio was built.
Attached to the house in Redbourn was a shop, bake ovens and a garage over 60 feet long. It was not until he retired that he was able to afford converting this garage into a proper studio, with good light. During this period Franck had a few private students.
Franck’s mother died in July 1966, his father died in August 1969.
In 1968 Franck became a granddad; in 1997 he became a great granddad. See below photos of four generations of Moores taken in 1968 and another photo taken in 1997
Now that Franck was retired he was able to rekindle his relationship with his French cousins. Franck and my mother took a few trips to France. On one trip they stayed at a villa in Aix in Provence which belonged to Guy. He met Genevieve; they met her again while visiting Paris
He was very friendly with his cousin Fernand and visited Normandy regularly and on one occasion went with Fernand’s wife Jeanette and their daughter Sylviva to Prague in 2002. Franck always appeared much more relaxed when he was with his French relatives.
Two of my sisters followed Franck into studying art; my other sister was a nurse and I a chartered accountant.
For some years Franck was on the board of governors of St Albans School of Art, (now called Hertfordshire College of Art and Design)
In 1981 Franck divorced, he had meet his old girl friend of 1939, her husband had died and Franck thought he would like to renew their friendship. However Geneviève did not want to further the relationship.
Franck moved to Portslade near Brighton. He renovated the house, held exhibitions to sell a few paintings.
He found a new friend, Grace.
Funds were tight, the divorce meant that Franck’s limited pension had to be split with my mother, and paint and canvases cost a lot of money. Franck took up a new career, he supervised offenders while they carried out their community service He was responsible for the day to day management of unpaid work done by adult offenders as part of a non-custodial sentence. Community payback is intended to be demanding physical work as well as useful to local communities. The work could be supervising up to 10 offenders as they carry out manual work on projects often nominated by members of the community. Projects involved, for example, painting and decorating, fencing, gardening, cleaning graffiti. Frank was responsible for, the quality of the work, ensuring that the work was completed and enforcing rules of attendance and behaviour. The work was carried out in the public eye in order to see offenders making some reparation for their offence. The offenders wore bright reflective jackets. When asked about who he had in his team that day Franck would smile and say, two GBH fellas, a fraud and a drug dealer. He mixed in great company.
He moved to a flat in Lancing near Worthing Sussex in 1986.
The Arts Council sponsored an exhibition of Frank’s paintings and carvings in 1989.
In 1993 he moved to Eastbourne and within two years to a ground floor flat also in the same town. One of the bedrooms was converted to a studio. Franck was very disciplined, every afternoon until December 2003, he was by then 90, he worked in his studio sometimes until very late in the evening.
My mother died in January 2000.
Frank had an exhibition in the Linenhall in Castlebar in Ireland in 2000. Franck always planned every detail; he prepared a scale drawing of the Linenhall with all the windows.
On the 19th July 2000 the western People wrote
During the exhibition he gave a talk on his work.
Franck stayed with us for a month during the exhibition. Franck at work in 2000 at Glynsk in Ireland
Frank always read a lot often in French; he had wide range of interests from gardening to politics. He enjoyed music, every week he climbed three flights of stairs to attend a folk evening, the folk group had one of Franck’s paintings as the front of their first CD “magic fingers” and in 2007 their second CD “trading the maybe”.
Franck collected wood, especially hard wood. In 1988 an oak door was smashed in a break in at my place of work. I gave Franck the only two pieces of wood that were salvageable; they were only 2.5 centimetres deep. A few months later he gave me the nude. I was always very impressed by the way he maximised the image the shape and created three dimensions out of such a thin piece of wood. The structure of a painting on the page was always important to Franck. In 1988 Franck carved these pieces although he was by then suffering with arthritis.
An earlier carving again only a couple of centimetres thick was made from a top of an old table.
Frank once told me in his later years he took to painting on canvases 4ft by 4 ft. because he suffered from arthritis, this was the optimum size as this was the extent of his reach when he stood in front of his easel.
Franck produced silk screen prints and made his own Christmas cards. 1983 and 1984 cards were as follows
In 2002 he had his own website www.franckmoore.com.
My sisters and I organised a big 90th Birthday party for Franck on the 25th July 2003, he knew about the party but not the actual arrangements. His face light up when a large contingent arrived from France, including his cousin’s wife. All his extended family were there, four children and their three surviving partners, nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren. One of his twin sisters, Ada was there. At the time of writing this in 2014 both his twin sisters were still alive Ina now lives in Australia. Franck was delighted when he saw his folk group arrive to play after we had all sat down to lunch.
Franck with Janette the wife of his cousin Fernand and with Sylviva Janette’s daughter and Salino.
Franck with his sister Ada (she now prefers to be called Yvonne).
Franck was always interested in the work of other artist’s, in December 2003 he was in Paris, he queued up in the pouring rain, everybody had an umbrella other than Franck a kind gentleman offered him a woollen hat
My impression of Franck in Paris included in a letter I sent to him
He arrived home exhausted, not at all well, (Franck was rarely ill). He told me that it had taken all afternoon on Christmas Eve to try and write a Christmas card for his next-door neighbour which he did not have the strength to deliver. He rang my sister Karen to say he would not be round for Christmas dinner. Franck was in hospital later that day, Franck was in and out of hospital, he was cared for very well by the McMillan nurses when at home. It was difficult seeing such an active man slipping away. Franck passed away on the 3rd June 2004.
Frank was a perfectionist; he would constantly criticise and sometimes amend his paintings. I found the best way to stop him was to frame the painting behind glass. A few weeks before he diedin 2004 he was very sick. He asked me to take down from the wall a painting of a mother and child (see below) that had been there for a few years because he needed to alter a finger on one of the person’s hands.
Franck liked to observe, he would have agreed that he was not a man of many words, although he did write a large number of poems both in English and French. Franck papers include several sayings for example
A couple of Franck’s late thoughts “the strange thing about being an artist is that he has the privilege of a second life in his work, I hope they give pleasure to some people”
“I only hope that the future for you all holds many successes and much pleasure and hope you never have to live through the obscenities of war”.
Franck’s painting “Fight for Peace”
Franck painted in a range of styles; he would sometimes have more than one theme running at the same time. Franck was interested in the relationship of people to circumstances and each other. I can remember when he was very concerned about the movement of displaced people across the world, many of his themes had a social connection, but sometimes he was collecting pictures of subjects like people in helmets or people playing musical instruments
Franck did not always sign and date his paintings. Just before he died he created folders of photographs of his work. The website galleries are made up of photographs of those photographs with Franck’s own description. I have noted that a few of the dates are not accurate.
Franck’s final wish was that his work stayed together as a collection. He would like me to arrange exhibitions so his work has a wider audience. Franck has left a great volume of work from large paintings to small sketches, most of which are still in the possession of the Franck Moore Collection in Ireland and England. The Franck Moore Collection includes the majority of works in Franck’s folders. The collection also has a large number of additional works, some of which were painted after Franck created the folders, including a couple of unfinished paintings. The website includes a number of additional works by Franck and some of his working drawings (described as undated). I would be pleased to consider any proposal to enable a wider public to know Franck and his work.
Franck always welcomed comments regarding his work, your thoughts can be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or placed on either his Facebook or Twitter accounts (Franck Moore).
Self-portrait in 2000