Collection WOOD - Karl Wood Windmill Sketches

Catalogue of paintings Adisham mill Punnett's Town Saw Mill Saxby All Saints Drapers mill Little Drapers Mill Sarre Mill Old Mill, Preston Guilton Mill New Mill, Northbourne Old Mill, Northbourne Lower Mill, Eastry Mount Ephraim Mill Soham Mere Hewson's Mill Hopton Garboldisham Banham Old Buckenham Besthorpe
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Reference code



Karl Wood Windmill Sketches


  • 1926-1956 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1382 pen-and-ink sketches and a small number of other items.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Karl Wood (1888-1958) was born in King's Newton, Melbourne, Derbyshire. He later settled in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire where he was art master at Gainsborough grammar school. He had his own art studio and undertook private tuition in several subjects including painting, piano and singing lessons. Painting tuition resulted in sketching bicycle tours into Lincolnshire with his pupils. His first windmill painting was in 1926 and by 1956 he had completed 1394 windmill paintings. It was Karl Wood's intention to publish a book on British windmills to be called The Twilight of the mills, based on his extensive travels by bicycle, but this was never completed. Karl Wood's paintings are now housed in the Usher Art Gallery, Lincoln.

For further biographical information on Karl Wood, see 'Windmill Wood: A Biography of Midlands Artist Karl Salsbury Wood' by Tony Shaw:


Archival history

The sketches came to the Mills Archive in 2008 from the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, where they were found in the collection of Frank Gregory. They seem at one time to have belonged to Thomas J Mason - SHOR-1118066, his notebook, contains a list of the sketches, and the scraps of paper found with the sketches are clearly in the same hand, as are the notes on the reverse of each sketch giving approximate geographical location (reproduced in the entry for each sketch in this catalogue). T J Mason's collection passed to Martin Mason, and was then sold; letter 46 in FWGC-1106833 from Stephen Buckland to Frank Gregory describes the sale of the Martin Mason collection. No reference is made to the Wood drawings; however, as they ended up in Frank Gregory'’s collection it seems likely that he purchased them at this time. The sketches are stored in order of M number. On this catalogue they have been arranged into series corresponding with the sections of the 'Check List'.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Scope and content

Pen-and-ink sketches of UK windmills. These correspond to the watercolour paintings now held by Lincolnshire Museums -– each sketch has an ‘M’ number, and the corresponding painting can be found by consulting '‘A Check List of Windmill Paintings by Karl Wood’'.
The dates written on each sketch, and used in the ‘date’ field on this catalogue are the same as those given for the paintings in the ‘check list’ -– these are the dates of Karl Wood’'s visits to the mills. Notes written on some of these sketches, however, suggest that they were produced at a later time (see for example M112). This suggests that the sketches were copied from the paintings.
It is also noteworthy that where the ‘check list’ lists two paintings of the same mill, there is only ever one sketch. When Wood painted a mill twice he used the same number, differentiating with a letter (e.g. M21a and M21b) – in all such cases only one painting has been used as the basis for a sketch, although sometimes the number written on it still includes a letter (e.g. sketch M21a). M1171 and M1171a in this collection are different –- they are two sketches based on the same painting, and are both labelled only ‘M1171’- – the '‘a'’ has been added to ID of the catalogue entry to differentiate the two.
Taking these facts into account it is possible that the sketches were intended for Karl Wood'’s book '‘The Twilight of the Mills’' which, according to the circular letter reproduced in the ‘check list’ was to have included mainly black and white images.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions governing access

This collection may be consulted free of charge at the Mills Archive; please email to arrange an appointment.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Karl Wood's paintings were acquired by the Lincolnshire Museums Service in 1977. They can be viewed on

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Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Archivist's note

Catalogued 2012 - 2013 by David Neaves. Collection level description by Nathanael Hodge.
Wilson, Catherine, 'A Check List of Windmill Paintings by Karl Wood' (Lincolnshire County Council, 1982)
Shaw, Tony 'Windmill Wood: A Biography of Midlands Artist Karl Salsbury Wood'

Accession area

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Physical storage

  • Box: Wood sketches M1-M50
  • Box: Wood sketches M51-M100
  • Box: Wood sketches M101-M150
  • Box: Wood sketches M151-M200
  • Box: Wood sketches M201-M250
  • Box: Wood sketches M251-M300
  • Box: Wood sketches M301-M350
  • Box: Wood sketches M351-M400
  • Box: Wood sketches M401-M450
  • Box: Wood sketches M451-M500
  • Box: Wood sketches M501-M550
  • Box: Wood sketches M551-M600
  • Box: Wood sketches M601-M650
  • Box: Wood sketches M651-M700
  • Box: Wood sketches M701-M775
  • Box: Wood sketches M776-M850
  • Box: Wood sketches M851-M900
  • Box: Wood sketches M901-M975
  • Box: Wood sketches M976-M1050
  • Box: Wood sketches M1051-M1100
  • Box: Wood sketches M1101-M1150
  • Box: Wood sketches M1151-M1200
  • Box: Wood sketches M1201-M1250
  • Box: Wood sketches M1251-M1300
  • Box: Wood sketches M1301-M1350
  • Box: Wood sketches M1351-M1185