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Isaac Findler

Extract from "Cheddleton North Staffordshire A Village History" Edited by Robert Milner

A few years ago a small exhibition was held at Leek of the works of Issac Findler, the painter. Although he had been dead almost a hundred years, there are still several of his paintings in existance.

Findler was born on 11th November, 1809, the son of Isaac Findler and his wife, Jane, formerly Rushton. His grandfather, William Findler seems to have come to Cheddleton about 1790, but does not appear to have settled there permanently. The family came from Warslow and, although the artist always claimed to be of Scottish origin, it would seem that they had been resident in the Alstonfield area for many years.

The painter's father was in business as a flint and colour grinder on the site later occupied by the paper mill. He died at the age of 46 in 1824, and young Issac, who had not been working there long, had to leave the business and go to work at a similar establishment at Stanley Moss for his uncle.

In 1832, he married Eunice Phillips, by whom he was destined to have a large family. Soon afterwards, he set up in business on his own as a house painter and decorator - remaining on good terms with the family business, which supplied his paint. All his life, he dabbled with painting pictures - usually in oils - but in order to make a success of his business he was unable to devote much time to it.

By the late 1860's, however, he had taken his son John, and his nephew Isaac, into the business. The younger Isaac described himself in 1867 as a "photographer" and it is possible that some of the old photographs that remain in Cheddleton which seem to date from that period could be his work. Eventually he settled down to work in the nearby brewery, whilst continuing to live in the tanyard cottages near his cousin and uncle.

Once John Findler has taken over the business completely, his father decided to devote his time entirely to his art.

In 1874 he had the one and only exhibition of his work to take place in his lifetime. This was held at West Street School in Leek.

His paintings fall into two main categories. There are those with a high moral tone - a type much loved in nineteenth century homes - frequently with a biblical theme; and those of local views - many of which were used as local inn-signs. At one time it was considered that most of the inn-signs in Leek had been painted by him.

Considered amongst his best paintings were "The Tight Shoe", "Daniel in the Lions Den", "Rebecca at the Well", "Cheddleton", "Captives at Babylon", and the inn-signs for the Red Lion in the Market Place, Leek and the William IV in Church Strret, Leek, which has since been demolished. Findler's last painting called "AMoonlight scene", is usually considered his best, and was given by the dying Findler to Dryden Sneyd of Ashcombe Park.

Eunice Findler was buried at Cheddleton on 25th July, 1883, at the age of 73 years, and four years later, at the age of 77, the painter was married for a second time to Mary Goddard - a widow. He died on 26th May 1888, at his home in the tan yard, and was burried in Cheddleton Churchyard three days later, at the age of 78 years.
M. H. Miller., Old Leeke Volume 2 (Published by Leek Times 1900)
Cheddleton Parish Registers

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