C. J. Praetorius


Pagham Harbour

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Publisher of a set of 12 or more facsimile watercolours of the Selsey and Pagham areas. Some but not all the cards are labelled on the back "C. J. Praetorius, Selsey, Copyright". Although the cards are halftones, the colour printing is of high quality. Postmarks indicate that the cards were on sale by autumn 1924. The pictures are unsigned, but teasingly a view of Beacon House at Selsey from the sea features a dinghy named Praetorius!

The publisher of the Selsey and Pagham cards was almost certainly Charles William James Praetorius RA, an accomplished painter and illustrator who exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1888 and 1914. Born in about 1868 he died in a nursing home at Emsworth on August 21, 1956, at the age of 88. His father, Charles B. Praetorius (born in Vienna in 1818, died 1900 at Kensington) had been a pioneer photographer and prominent member of the Royal Photographic Society.

CWJP's death certificate records that he lived at The Studio, Manor Road, Selsey. A Mrs Minnie Praetorius, a miniature portrait painter, who exhibited at the RA in 1924, also lived at Selsey. Kelly's 1938 Sussex Directory gives her address as Seal House, Seal Road, Selsey. For some reason, earlier Directories make no mention of her. Further research is needed to establish whether she was CWJP's wife or some other relative. Praetorius is such a rare English surname, the two painters can be confidently assumed to have been related.

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