Rankin Logo

Peggy with husband,
and fellow artist,
James Allardyce

James AllardyceJames - self-portrait

Peggy and David Rankin

Peggy, the artist.

Within the pages of "Gummy's Story" I touched only briefly on the lives of Will and Mary Rankin's three children Peggy (Mary Winifred)1908 to 2001, David and Geoff.

Peggy's nephew, Andrew Rankin, has sent me some extracts from Vivienne Light's book "Circles and Tangents" which includes chapters on both Peggy (pictuPeggyred below) and her husband, James Allardyce who were accomplished artists. There are three daughters of their marriage: Linnet, Lucy and Jenny. Clearly there was quite an artistic streak within the Rankin family and I understand that it was Peggy's aunt, Nell ~ herself skilled in sketching and in painting watercolours ~ who suggested to her mother, Mary, that Peggy should train at the Bolt Court School of Photo-engraving and Lithography, and this she did before going on to the Royal College of Art. In Vivienne's chapters she mentions how Peggy met her future husband when they were both students there. She says: "Whereas his main interest came to be in the drawn line, the classical and aesthetic, Rankin (i.e.Peggy) developed a passion for paint, colour and imagery. Romantic and narrative, symbolic and autobiographic, she fully embraced human emotion and the unconcious mind in an era when the theories of Freud and Jung were in the ascendant".

There is a great deal about Peggy's development as an artist within the pages of "Circles and Tangents" which I will not endeavour to cover here, but two extracts, at least, from Vivienne Light's excellent book are relevant to the family history:

"ThroughDirty Berties Cottageout her life Rankin (i.e. Peggy) was to remain deeply affected, even haunted, by what had happened to David. At his funeral she dropped a sunflower into the grave and never forgot the sound of the 'thud' as it hit the coffin. In part it explains the presence of the sunflowers in the painting Dirty Bertie's Cottage. Bertie was her next door neighbour for a while, a shepherd none too keen on hygiene.

In 'Birdsnesting', (below), painted about ten years after David's death, Peggy painted herself and her surviving brother Geoff in a state of 'togetherness'. Painted in oil on board the two sit apart from the rest of the world in the mushroom canopy ofa tree. The viewer looks down on the pair as Geoff shows his sister a pale-blue bird's egg. An inventive surreal composition, it recalls happier days of childhood, of shared sibling adventures in the countryside"

Birds Nesting
Dead Geranium
Into the Light
Into the Light
Woman with mouse
Hand with Rose
Hand with Convulvulus
Woman with Mouse
Hand with Rose
Hand with Convulvulus
Geoffrey in red coat
Early 30's
Mid 60s
(early 1930's)
(mid 1960's)
(a student work)
Foot and Cat

and 2 more sketches by
James Allardyce

Foot and cat


The following was kindly supplied by Mark Churchill from his book "Charlton Marshall. Aspects of our Story", published by The Charlton Marshall History Project in 2011:

"James and Peggy Allardyce
Their headstone says simply James, artist 1908-1986, Peggy, painter 1908-1999; in fact both had studied at The Royal College of Art in the 1930s. Charlton Marshall ChurchThey came to Charlton Marshall in 1950 and lived in River Lane after James was appointed art master at Clayesmore, a post he held for twenty years. He was also chairman of the Charlton Marshall Amenities Society which fought the demolition of Charlton House and among his work are some very lovely pencil sketches of the house, the church, (right in 1937) and the immediately surrounding area, which were done as part of his campaign to draw attention to and raise money for the project to save Charlton House. James’s father was an architect and James himself was passionately interested in buildings. Peggy was a serious and well respected painter but one of her ‘achievements’ in which she took great delight was the scenery for the shooting gallery of Arnold’s funfair. Their daughter says the cottage and studio in River Lane ‘became a meeting place for artists and eccentrics of all ages’."


David Rankin

Did David take his own life?

The story of David's short life appears on page 85 of my book and tells of his sad death by drowning while on holiday in Cornwall. The family have long suspected that his death might have been suicide and a recent article by Michael Darlow, the Vice-President of The Terence Rattigan Society, lends weight to that theory.


[My thanks to Linnet Allardyce, Vivienne Light, Andrew Rankin, Mark Churchill and the
Terence Rattigan Society for their assistance and contributions to this web page.]

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