Charles Breaker was born at Bowness on Lake Windermere. In the early 1930s, he went to Spain with his life-long companion and friend, the illustrator and watercolourist, Eric HILLER. Finding themselves in the midst of the Civil War, they moved on to Madeira, South Africa, Morocco, Capri, and finally Brittany, for painting purposes.
At the outbreak of WWII, Breaker returned to England, working in the drawing office of an aircraft factory. In 1947 he and Hiller moved to Cornwall, settling in Newlyn and, with the organising assistance of artist Marjorie MORT in 1948, they began the Holiday Sketching Group based at the Gernick Field Studio where they lived (See Hardie 1995). Breaker, a wonderful enthusiast, was active in arts social activities on both sides of the peninsula, maintaining memberships in both STISA and NSA, the latter of which he served as Chairman betwen 1957-8 and 1961-3. Much of his art work was in watercolour, and showed a spontaneous energy and colourful regard for the life he depicted, be it boats around the harbour and poster-style events.
He is especially remembered for his exciting knitted jerkins and sweaters that he made for himself and for friends, occasionally selling them for extra funds for the classes at Gernick Field (which continued until 1965). He introduced a wild array of colours in intricate design, and inspired a number of noted followers in art-knitwear, especially his niece Pat PICKLES and another artist friend, Jane AKEROYD. A Breaker knit is still treasured today and is immediately recognisable wherever it is worn. In 1986 Pickles and other former pupils mounted a Memorial Exhibition to honour this well-loved artist.
A recent correspondent added to our information about Charles and Eric with the following:
'I first met Newlyn artists in the 1960's, including Eric Alfred HILLER and Charles Clark Breaker. Eric was born in 1893 (not shown on your list) Also another artist there at that time was Alan WHITE (Frank Alan White)1893 - 1974. Could this be the one about which you had no information. He was a water colourist and I have several examples of his work. He was a friend of Charles Breaker and often
lived at Gernick Field in those days.'
Painter, poster artist and teacher
works and access
Likenesses: Portrait by Kurt Schwitters (Ambleside,1947).
Works include: Fishing boats at Newlyn; Chapelle de Tremaloe; Captain Cutters House; Z542, Newlyn Harbour
Access to work: Mousehole (watercolour reproduced on postcard by NOAG); Hardie (1995) 100 Years/Diary (2 col pl, photo likenesses) [Available on-line at Google Books]; Penlee House Museum & AG
Chappell House Hotel, Penzance February - March 1948
STISA Touring Shows 1949, Festival of Britain 1951
Framer's Gallery, Penzance 11 - 27 April 1974
NAG Newlyn in Pont Aven 1977, June - July 1978, Memorial Exhibition July - August 1986;
Brunswick Gallery, London (Solo show)
Studio Sale Penzance June 1992
NSA (Chairman and life member)
misc further info
Buckman (2006) Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945
Hardie (1995) 100 Years in Newlyn: Diary of a Gallery (col pl, photo likeness, drawing)
Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly: Oil Paintings in Public Ownership
Tovey (2003) Creating a Splash;