Sunday, March 06, 2011

C P Shilton

C P Shilton was a painter and illustrator who was active in story papers in the 1920 and 1930s. He is known to have contributed to Schoolgirls' Weekly, Chums, Young England, Modern Wonder and, for older readers, Detective Magazine.

To find out more about the artist, I've had to work backwards. Claude Percival Shilton died in 1968, aged 81. He lived for much of his working career at 18 Westhall Road, Richmond—phone records indicate that he was at this address from at least as early as 1928, although that still only accounts for 40 of his 81 years.

According to a trade directory from 1939, he was then working via Temple Art Agency and had been educated at Leicester College of Art. The directory (which is rather slim of detail) notes that he worked in line, line & wash and in oils.

In the 1891 census we find that Claude was the son of Thomas Shilton, a 30-year-old grocer and carpenter born in Stoke Golding, Leicestershire, in c.1861. Thomas was the son of another Thomas, a builder, also born in Stoke Golding; in the 1901 census he also has two jobs listed, as grocer's baker and draper, working from home. One imagines that Thomas worked hard and provided well for his family as in both census returns there is a servant also listed in the household.

His wife, Susan, was also local to Stoke Golding, and was the daughter of Charlotte Hall. There were three children, Henry, Hetty Angela (who married in 1910). and Claude Percival. From Henry's age in the 1891 census, we can estimate that Thomas and Susan probably married around 1882/83 and, with everyone being local, their marriage would have been registered in nearby Hinckley.

And this is where the story takes a turn for the confusing as there is recorded the 1882 marriage of Susan Hall and Thomas Shilton Pegg.

This opens up a new line of enquiry, as none of the children's births were registered under the name Shilton. But they are listed under the name Pegg...
  • Harry Shilton Pegg born Winshill, Derbyshire, 1883
  • Hetty Angela Shilton Pegg born Stoke Golding, 1887, twin sister of...
  • Claude Percival Shilton Pegg, born Stoke Golding, 1887.
Now, why this should be I've no idea. Thomas can be found in all census records in 1871 through 1901 as Thomas Shilton (and, incidentally, Susan Hall being a year older (born 1860), can be found in 1861, too, living with her parents Thomas and Charlotte). But it is as Thomas Shilton Pegg that his birth was registered in Hinckley in 1861.

Putting this to one side, we do at least now have his dates (1887-1968). Shilton served during World War I as a private with the Leicestershire Rifles, rising to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant and served in France before transferring to the R.A.F. where he was a Flight Officer.

He was married in 1918 to Alice Payne, the marriage registered in Hinckley, so possibly taking place in Stoke Golding.

C. P. Shilton was also a regular cover artist for Mellifont Press, including a number of their Nat Gould racing horse reprints and westerns dating from the 1940s to the 1960s. He was also a painter of some talent, as the artwork illustrating this piece shows.

Illustrated Books
Red Blossoms. A story of Western India by Isabel Brown Rose. London, Religious Tract Society, 1925.
The Gordons' New Mother by Kathleen M. Macleod. London, Religious Tract Society, 1926.
Jerry Makes Good by Theodora Wilson Wilson. London, "Boy's Own Paper", 1926,
Outlaws of the Air by Frank H. Shaw. London, Cassell & Co., 1927.
Boys of Gresham House by M. Harding Kelly. London, "Boy's Own Paper", 1928.
Cousins in Devon by Amy Le Feuvre. London, Religious Tract Society, 1928.
Brownie Blue-Shoes by R. G. Parkinson. London, Religious Tract Society, 1929.
Grimshaw of St. Kit's by Michale Poole. London, Cassell & Co., 1929.
Storm Sent by David Ker. London, "Boy's Own Paper", 1929.
Quinton Kicks Off! by Michael Poole. London, Cassell & Co., 1930.
Tony D'Alton's Wireless by Arthur Russell. London, "Boy's Own Paper", 1931.
The Riddle of the Screen by C. W. C. Drury. London, Sheldon Press, 1932.
Facing It Out by Rita Coatts. London, Juvenile Productions, 1937.
More Thrills with the Paratroops by"Pegasus". London, Hutchinson's Books for Young People, 1944.
Ringed Round with Foes by C. Bernard Rutley. London, Newnes, 1945.
Paratroops in Action by "Pegasus". London, Hutchinson's Books for Young People, 1946.
The Story of Our People Vol.1: The Making of the Kingdom, 55BC to AD1170 by O.H. Harland. London, Newnes, 1951.
The Leopard Men by James Shaw. London, Frederick Warne & Co., 1953.

Contributed to
Collins' Schoolgirls' Annual. London, Collins, c.1920s.
The British Girl's Annual. London, Amalgamated Press, c.1925; also issued as The Australian Girl's Annual.
Best Book for Schoolgirls. London, Collins, c.1934
Teddy Tail's Annual 1934. London, William Collins for the "Daily Mail", 1934.
Thrills and Spills. London, Children's Press, n.d.


  1. Hi Steve,
    I am really pleased that I found your article, because I have been meaning to chase up on "Uncle Claude" for a while.
    His wife, Alice Payne was my Great Aunt, and I remember visiting their home in Richmond once as a small boy.
    I have a few of his paintings of Kew Gardens, as well as of my Grandmother's house outside Bridport in the 1940's.
    Information on him is sketchy, but there was one family member in Leicestershire who did a lot of research on the family history.

  2. Perhaps you could drop me a line (my e-mail address can be found top left under the photo) as it was a family member working on a family tree that started me digging. I'm sure she would like to get in touch.

  3. I was really pleased to find your biography of C P Shilton. I have an artwork listed on my eBay site in case you'd like to take a look:

    Best wishes,


  4. I too have done research on the Shilton family. 'Uncle Claude' was my Great Uncle who I met just once. Hettie Angela was my Grandmother and when my Grandfather died I inherited a water colour by T. Shilton dated 1901. Can you tell me the title of the book about C P Shilton please and anything more about T Shilton as artist?

  5. I've not heard of any book about C P Shilton. A Google search doesn't come up with anything. Nor anything for a T. Shilton as artist, although it may be a painting by Claude's father, Thomas, which makes sense if it belonged to your grandmother (Thomas Shilton's daughter) & grandfather. Unfortunately, that's the best guess I can come up with.

  6. Thanks for the info! I have a "Kews Garden" painting by him that my Aunt gave me. She picked it up in the UK, at an auction when they lived there. It is now proudly hanging in the USA.



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