Lacey (Edward Hill)

Walter Widdopp as Siegfried,


, , c.1924.
a suitably dramatic portrait of the English operatic tenor in the character of Richard Wagner’s Siegfried, the artist possibly exaggerating the singer’s muscular limbs to give him a powerful stance, with head held high, a large sword in one hand, the other with fist clenched. Walter Widdopp was born in Yorkshire, in 1892, and sang in choirs, winning local competitions, before making his professional debut in Leeds, in 1923, in Verdi’s ‘Aida’. But it was his London debut the following year, in this role of Siegfried, at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, that defined his career. He was famed for his Wagnerian performances, touring many countries around the world. Following his appearance in the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, in 1949, he died suddenly the next day in Hampstead.

Edward Hill Lacey (1891-1967), sculptor and printmaker, was born and educated in Bradford, attending the School of Art there until called up to fight in the First World War. During that time, he applied to the sculpture department at the Slade, where he was encouraged to draw everything he saw in his service life and to re-apply when the conflict was over. Succeeding in this, he supplemented his studies in sculpture with drawing portraits, in which he flourished, even teaching himself etching to extend his practice. For most of his career he was based in London, with studios first in Camden then in south London. He staged several prestigious institutional exhibitions in London, Manchester and Glasgow, eventually settling in Hastings Old Town, where he died..