James Lynwood Palmer

James Lynwood Palmer started out in life at Linwood, Market Raisen, Lincolnshire in 1868.

He was born the youngest of eight children, his father the rector of St Cornelius’s Church, where he lived with his wife.

In 1875 his father moved, after several shorter stays at churches in London to St Mary’s Newington in South London.

Lynwood attended King’s College School where he attained no qualifications at all. His parents had dreams of him entering the Diplomatic Service or the law, but his interests always centred around horses and drawing them. 

As a child he would get up early and help the men at the large London bus yard behind the rectory, look after the horses.

In 1884 Lynwood Palmer left school at the age of 17 without his parents blessing and set sail to Canada.

He did not have any connections in North America where he stayed for eleven years. He began by earning a living working on ranches, breaking horses and delivering their young to the markets of Boston and New York.

Many years later he told his future pupil Juliet McLeod that he had skirmished with red indians.

Within a few years Palmer began to get involved with horse shows in Toronto and New York and through the contacts he made at these shows he was able to develop his artistic skills. Sketches he made came to the attention of General Field of the US Cavalry, also a leading horse dealer W.D Grand of Toronto.

In 1891 a review of the Toronto horseshow showed eight sketches by Lynwood Palmer in Rider and Driver magazine.

The following year Lynwood Palmer’s name appeared twice in the New York Times as the donor of a prize worth $200, the prize was a portrait of the winner in the United States Horse and Cattle Society’s first show, for the best hunter up to 220lbs.

In 1893 two further illustrations appeared in The Rider and Driver of The Fancy Dress Parade held by New York Central Park Riding Acadamy.

In 1884 Palmer needed work and he joined the New York Cab Company as a cab master, in charge of the horses where he developed his interest in foot lameness, which in the future would see him consulted by the Metropolitan Police.

Later on in 1893 for The American Carriage Monthly he showed some sketches called Incidents on the Roads and Parks of New York.

Through his prize giving efforts at major shows and his sketches he made of these shows he went on to develop relationships with the elite of the horse community including, Josiah Macy Willets and his wife Gladys. They had 2000 acres, called Cassilis Farm, near Great Barrington, Massachusetts, which had a world wide reputation. Palmer painted for them on several occasions.

In 1895 he met his wife Lydia Frohawk in America, although she was British and came from a well to do family from Norfolk.

That year he returned from America to England and slowly built up a following over a period of years of the British aristocracy, paintings were commisioned by many of these, culminating in being asked to paint the horses of King Edward V11. 

In 1911 he purchased the White House in Heston “Down amongst the green fields and tall trees remote from industrial progress” it would be another twenty years before the area was urbanised by the building of the Great West Road, industry and housing estates, and much later on Heathrow Airport.

The White House was built by Oliver Cromwell, as a place to stay for his daughter Elizabeth. A rather grand building with stables and outbuildings. It remained Palmers home with six staff, pupils, vets and farriers were all regular visitors.

James Lynwood Palmer died in 1941, virtually penniless and is buried in St Leonard’s churchyard in Heston in plot D16. The house became a Dance Studio and was later demolished in 1965.

Today on the site is Palmer Close a modern estate of about fifteen houses.