17th November 1855

Horticultural painter William Caparne was born

William Caparne, who only added the final “e” to his name in the second half of his life, was a renowned painter of flowers and landscapes. Some of his work is in the hands of the Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery.

Pea Stacks by William Caparne

Born in Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, to an iris-growing organist. He had two other close relatives who were seed dealers. No doubt these relatives’ interests had a bearing on his later life.

As an horticulturist, Caparne created more than 100 varieties of hybrid irises. He started his cultivation experiments in his own greenhouse at his home in Oundle and would paint them as they grew.

Caparne the painter

Caparne showed a flair for art from a very early age and by 16 was teaching in an art school. By 21 he was the art master of a Northamptonshire school.

Caparne moved to Guernsey in 1896, two years after his wife’s death, and set up his studio in an old tramcar next to his cottage in Bon Port. He painted there for the next 44 years and died within the first couple of years of the occupation. He had lost his eyesight three years before he died.

Throughout his time in Guernsey he painted some of the most remarkable floral pictures of the time, while also establishing a garden of irises and various heat-loving plants, including cacti.


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Other events that occured in November

Car plane air crash caused airport fireball 1st
A hospital worker stood accused of murder 2nd
Sark’s vineyards were vandalised 3rd
The original Torteval church was consecrated 4th
Sibyl Beaumont married Robert Hathaway 5th
The papers were excited by a Guernsey execution 6th
The States agrees to pay the Bailiff 7th
States of Guernsey hired its first independent vet
The Little Theatre was reprieved… for a while 8th
Guernsey was declared free of cholera 9th
Guernsey optician Specsavers was founded 10th
The court considered a Guernsey porn dealer’s testimony 11th
Guernsey Yacht Club was founded 12th
Guernsey aimed for equal adoption rights 13th
Jethou’s tenant fell off his own cliff 14th
Dad’s Army actor John le Mesurier died 15th
A Guernsey recruit regretted signing up 16th
Horticultural painter William Caparne was born 17th
German forces confiscated Guernsey’s radios 18th
A plane crashed on Crevichon 19th
Sark featured in the music charts 20th
Guernsey recruits caused concern in Parliament 21st
First Guernsey competitor took part in Miss World 22nd
A Lancaster bomber crashed on Sark 23rd
Sark women get the right to inherit 24th
Spanish flu arrived on Guernsey 25th
Guernsey held its first full marathon 26th
Admiral Thomas Le Marchant Gosselin died 27th
HMS Boreas sank at Hanois 28th
Radio station Contact 94 went off the air 29th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry memorial was unveiled 30th