Artist Gordon “Kit” Thorne


Gordon “Kit” Thorne was a mentor to my mother, painter Helen Andersen.

It is useful to place pieces of family history online. Others searching for additions to their family trees may find something that fills in blanks. So it was with my mentions of Kit. An email arrived asking to use some photos from my blog. Of course that was fine with me and I thought I could do more.

Out came the albums and I found 3 more pictures of Kit, dating from around 1960. I sent them off to Kit’s relative and decided to post one here, too. The original photo was small and the focus is soft, but that was typical of the drugstore-developed snaps we made back then.

what-me-worry-200I found this photo of young Bill Andersen nearby in the album. I was probably 13 or 14 when both photos were taken. The bolo tie may have been a gift from Kit, who favoured them. Mine had a cowboy boot embossed on it, I see. I don’t remember wearing it anywhere.

The slightly stunned expression is natural. I had not discovered psychedelics yet.

Back to Kit. His dear wife Katharine died young and heart-broken Gordon Thorne folded her nickname into his own, keeping her close forever.

What that object is behind him, I have no idea. Some industrial relic. It is likely that he and Helen were out sketching that day, using the decaying buildings and old machinery as subject matter. Kit liked such subjects and other down-to-earth scenes. Fishing boats and construction equipment figure largely in many of my mother’s pictures from this period. Kit’s influence, no doubt.

Some small but charming watercolours by Kit were among my mother’s possessions that came to us after her death. We framed them and they hang with Helen’s work on our walls. Old friends, inseparable.

2 thoughts on “Artist Gordon “Kit” Thorne

  1. That piece of machinery is quite puzzling, it seems levelled off and propped up firmly, but what does it do? Now, that photo of the youngster looks like it was lifted off a Norman Rockwell print, very nice and still a still recognizable face!

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