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Portrait of Winifred Gwendoline Musson (later Mrs Butler Leader)

Date made: 1943

Description: Albert Brion was a Belgian artist who was interned on the Isle of Man during the Second World War. The information concerning Brion originates from the description of this portrait, which he painted of Winifred G.B. (‘Gwen’) Musson. Musson left a note of her portrait in her will, which stated it was ‘ portrait in oils in its original frame painted in the year 1943 at Peveril Internment Camp by the Belgian artist, Albert Brion’.

Winifred Gwendoline Butler Musson was born on the Isle of Man in 1927. Known as Gwen Musson she was the daughter of Mr W.E. Musson of The Quay, Peel. In 1945 he was the Grand Master of the Glenfaba lodge of Freemasons. He appears to have been a fruit and vegetable retailer and was also president of the Peel Literary and Debating Society. W.E. Musson died in 1967, aged 81.

During the war, Gwen attended the Manx Technical College for Women, gaining qualifications in Domestic Studies and Housekeeping. Musson and her family were living at ‘Dale Mount’, Peveril Road (Peel) at the time - and her proximity to the internment camp is likely to be how she met her future husband, Edmund A. Leader - a serving Metropolitan Police officer throughout the Second World War, thought to have been posted to Peel to guard the 18b detainees at the Peveril Camp. According to the 1939 Register, Leader was already married which would explain why he and Gwen Musson did not marry until 1954.

It is thought that Leader must have arranged for one of his prisoners - namely, Brion - to paint the portrait of his future fiancee. A poem dedicated to Gwen and signed 'E.Leader' was found on the inside of the canvas when the backing was removed by MNH.

Brion was among the handful of 'Quislings' (subjects of allied nations with Nazi sympathies) detained under Regulation 18b at Peel.

Measurements: overall: 71 cm x 61 cm x 3 cm

Materials: cotton, linen, paint: oil, wood: other

Object name: portrait

Collection: Art Collection

ID number: 2020-0065



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