Francis Joseph "Wiggs" Kinnaird (1875-1915)
Francis Joseph Kinnaird was born in London in 1875, the second son of Francis Henry and Charlotte Kinnaird. Wiggs, as he was popularly known, was a landscape and figure painter who had had no formal art training, but was tutored by his elder brother Henry John, a noted landscape painter in oils and watercolours. Henry had exhibited works at the Royal Academy from 1886 to 1897. Together the brothers travelled and painted rural scenes in the counties of southern England. Although generally not reckoned to be in the same league as his brother, Wiggs gradually developed into a competent sketcher and watercolourist.
In 1900, while painting in Worcestershire, Wiggs met the woman he was to marry. She was Mrs Gertrude Cookes, the widow of Thomas Henry Cookes JP DL, and formerly MP for east Worcestershire. They had been living at The Old Hill, Astley, near Stourport, which Wiggs painted in 1901.
Gertrude and Wiggs were married in London in 1901. Wiggs planned to attend art school but this was not to be and his career as an artist was short lived. In 1909 he joined the Staffordshire Militia, 4th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment. At the outbreak of war in 1914 his battalion was stationed in Jersey. In March 1915, he took a draft of 100 men as reinforcements to the 2nd Battalion of the Regiment in France. During his short time at the Front and in the trenches Wiggs made a number of sketches.
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