Mr Walter John Ferguson, born in 1912, interviewed in 1986 for ‘Looking Back at Liverpool: An Oral History of the Liverpool Region 1900–1960’ project, recalls the noted Australian artist Eric Wilson, who lived in Liverpool, and his painting A Game of Draughts.
WALTER: In the main street there used to be a chap by the name of Wilson, he was a saddler, and he had one son, I think his name was Eric. He was a pretty good artist. He painted one very good one, and it hung for years in the School of Arts, of Old Bill Ashe and John Grace. They were, I’m not sure, it was that long ago now, whether it was a game of draughts or a game of chess they were playing, and Eric painted this. I know it was shifted, I don’t know where it went, and I didn’t find out until round about 1956 or 58, could’ve been a bit later again.
I was working at a place and got to know a young fella in there. He was one of the young Ashe’s, Bill’s son. I said to him one day, I said ‘Was Bill Ashe who used to live in Liverpool your father?’ He said ‘Yes’ I said ‘You used to live over near the Clinch’s Pond?’ He said ‘Yes, at the orchard, we had an orchard there’. He said to me, he says ‘Did you ever see a painting of Dad’s father, my grandfather?’ ‘Yes’, I said, ‘It used to hang in the School of Arts’. He said ‘That’s right’,’ but, he said ‘It don’t hang there anymore.’ I said ‘1 knew it went’. He said ‘Do you know where it is?’ He said ‘It’s in the National Art Gallery in Canberra’.