The artist Charles Leek and his wife, Joyce, built their single storey wooden house at Godshill near Fordingbridge, probably in the 1950s. Joyce ran an organic nursery garden there and Charles had his studio, where he painted the New Forest landscape. Prints of his scenes are available. Beautifully painted, they record the post-war Forest in all lights and shades, its tracks and woodland, the open moors, pools reflecting the sky, and of course the ponies and working horses.

Charles’s nieces remember him smoking his pipe, his quiet, kindly, somewhat brusque manner, and his love of the Forest, where once he took them, early in the morning, to see a fox and her cubs. Childhood holidays were spent staying in a caravan on the Leeks’ land - the house never did have electricity but was heated and lit using paraffin and oil lamps, while the ‘straw’ lavatory was in the outhouse. Sadly, the house has now been demolished and the land redeveloped, but I am researching its history and Charles’s life and will provide information on the website as it becomes available. I would also be delighted to hear from anyone owning a Charles Leek original.

If you would like to arrange to see more or to purchase one of the prints, please go to the contact page.

Alison Vaspe Winchester 2009