Jacquetta’s early days


Joofthedownes said “I would like to know more about this Jac” (Guardian 5/8/10) and others may have wondered about her so we hope with this blog to show something of her life as we knew it to be; and as we four sisters were unusually close right to the very end of that life, we feel we are best placed to tell both her story and of the circumstances which finally overwhelmed her.

Jacquetta – she used the name only formally and we will not do so again – was known as Jacquie, Jac or Jacs by her family and all those who loved her.  She was the second in a family of four daughters whose lives were closely linked and was raised from her earliest years in Kendal, Westmorland – sadly, now Cumbria.

Educated at Kendal High School for Girls, as were each of the sisters in their turn, she went on to Liverpool to the C.F.Mott College (no longer in existence) from 1966-1969.  She studied Art and English and after training to be an art teacher she completed her probationary year, also in Liverpool.

Her younger sister followed in her footsteps and also trained at C.F. Mott and thus they were together for several years; this sister indeed, marrying, and having her children almost in parallel – in one case there were only weeks between the births of their babies.

Jac was always, since her childhood, a very creative person and as she developed so did her interest in glass.  One of the first pieces of real stained glass she created, made as a gift for our father when in her teens, was a small panel depicting a girl holding out a rose. It was very lovely in shades of blues and pinks and striking even then, in its originality.

She loved her glass work and became increasingly involved in that art form, working in studios with mentors; sometimes on the restoration of antique or damaged glass and at other times carrying out original designs.

After the birth of her first child she began to work commercially on her own account.  These early pieces tended to be small; jewellery, trinket boxes, and book-ends; butterflies as mobiles so that the light through their wings gave them life: lamp-shades, but these were a little heavy to start with as she had not yet perfected her “copper foil” technique.

She occasionally rented a stall in Camden Lock in London and also in Lark Lane in Liverpool in the weeks preceding Christmas as these small things were perfect for presents.  One of her sisters remembers these expeditions as being very enjoyable but often perishingly cold!  This was a theme with Jac, the enjoyment in what she was doing and whatever the obstacles, to make light of them.  Always laughter and attacks of infectious giggles – part of Jac’s personality was this ability to make life happy for all around her.

It is such a wonderful attribute to be so life-affirming and this our sister certainly was.