“the doyen of deaf artists”, Charles Webb Moore 1848-1933
By H Dominic W Stiles, on 3 July 2015
Charles Webb Moore (1848-1933) was the son of a deaf lithographer, Isaac Moore. His mother and all his siblings were deaf. In fact, there were I understand, five generations of the Moore family who were Deaf. Many of them were skilled artisans like Charles and his father.
According to his obituary (Ephphatha, 1933) Charles was born on the 7th of April 1848, in Camden Town, and was educated at the Old Kent Road Asylum. After training as a wood engraver, he worked for, among other periodicals, The Graphic, and the Illustrated London News, and won a silver medal at ‘the Deaf Mutes Exhibition held in London in 1885’ (I have been unable to discover more about that – if you know leave a comment below). It seems that he painted portraits of many people associated with St. Saviour’s Church, including the Rev. Samuel Smith, Dr. Stainer, Dr. Elliott, Mr. Sleight, and Sir Arthur Fairbairn. We wonder whether these paintings survive, and if so, where they are now?
Charles married a Deaf lady, Emily Eliza Kemrik (sometimes written as Kamerick). They were married in St. May’s Paddington by the Rev. Mr. Churchill, and the service was interpreted in sign language by the Rev. Samuel Smith.
In 1924, A.J. Wilson, himself a skilled engraver (I have come across at least one engraving by him of a Thomas Davidson picture), called Moore, “the doyen of deaf artists”.
Wilson explains how it was the technical advances in printing, which made the job of the woodcut artist “more precarious”.
“Curiosity” is reproduced by photo-process from a large woodcut which he both drew and engraved. “The Mermaid” is processed from one of Mr. Moore’s oil paintings. These two printing blocks illustrate the advance that has been made in the art of process engraving, because one – “Curiosity” – was reproduced from a line engraving on wood, and when we came to reproduce it by half-tone process the lines were broken up into dots. The other – “The Mermaid” – was photographed direct from the oil painting, yet the various colours of the original have been transformed into black and white by means of an “orthochromatic” plate so that the values are preserved.
The description under “Curiosity” says it was drawn for The Boy’s Own Paper.
Emily and Charles had four sons and one daughter. The middle son, William Webb Moore, was a recipient of the Belgian Order of Chevalier de la Couronne and the French Croix de Guerre, and sadly died in the Great War on the 12th of June 1918.
If we discover any more about Charles Moore and his family we will update this page!
Very acute readers of this blog will know that Moore has already had a picture featured on this site – he was the artist who depicted his friend Thomas Davidson.
There is a woodcut by Moore here.
Charles Webb Moore, Ephphatha 1933, p.
A Magazine Intended Chiefly for the Deaf and Dumb, 1878, No. 69, Vol. 6, p. 144
Deaf Artists, The Silent World, A Little Magazine Written by the Deaf for the Deaf, New Series, November 1924, No. 2 p.34-5
8 Responses to ““the doyen of deaf artists”, Charles Webb Moore 1848-1933”
andrew perrett wrote on 15 November 2015:
I have a portrait of a man in army uniform presumably from the first world war . there are pencil markings on the back which i am unable to decipher it is signed c w moor
Nita Kaminski wrote on 29 June 2017:
I purchased an old painting at auction from early 1900’s framed & on board. It is signed C W Moore. It is a picture of a lady seated at a table with a bowl of apples & is impressionistic in style. Curious to know if this painting is by this artist. How can I find out. Thank you.
Ian Depledge wrote on 3 April 2018:
I might be able to help you. My wife is a descendent of C. W. Moore and the family has some of his work. If you could email me an image of the painting that you bought, showing his signature, I would be able to tell you if it is a work of C. W. Moore.
Ian Depledge wrote on 20 December 2018:
My wife is a descendent of C. W. Moore and the family has some of his work. If you could email me an image of the painting that you bought, showing his signature, I should be able to tell you if it is a work of C. W. Moore.
Susan Froggatt wrote on 24 April 2018:
I have an oil painting which has the name C W Moore in the bottom right hand corner. It looks like it’s canvas it is framed and on the rear of the painting it states Bridge over the river Dee Llangollen. The letters look to be the same as the name on the front of the canvass. How can I find out if this is the person who painted the picture. The buildings along the bank look quite old but there is a tiny figure of what looks like a man on the bridge in a black maybe waistcoat and white sleeves I’ve only realised that the painter has put this man on the bridge after looking at the picture many times.
I found it lying in a charity shop and I have visited Llangollen many times and admired this bridge hence my buying the painting.
Susan wrote on 2 May 2018:
Does anyone know of the print cartoon
Sell and repent
john welsh wrote on 1 September 2019:
Hello, this is a message for Ian. I have seen a painting which is signed C W Moore, portrait of a gentleman, 1898. Would you have your email address to send it to you to ascertain if it the same C W Moore. Kind regards
The oil painting of Sir Arthur Fairbairn is now at the Reading Room of the British Deaf History Society at Warrington. The picture used to be at Fairbairn Deaf Centre in Southamptom for many years and that the Centre closed down a few years ago. I am interested to know the whereabout of William or Arthur Sleight’s portrait.