Sri Lankan Burgher Family Genealogy
1 John Frederick William Wendt b: 6 SEP 1803 + Ninetta Elizabeth Kriekenbeek b: 22 JUN 1806
2 George Arnold Wendt b: 16 JUN 1831 + Mary Louise Georgiana Anderson b: 30 APR 1840
3 Henry Lorensz Wendt b: 28 OCT 1858 d: 20 NOV 1911 + Amelia De Saram (3126)
4 Lionel George Henricus Wendt b: 3 DEC 1900, Lionel Wendt was born in Colombo, Ceylon on December 3, 1900. Educated in Colombo and Cambridge
(he studied Law). He also studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London. On returning in 1924 he practiced law for a short time , but then devoted himself to his
enormous talents as a musician till 1935 when he turned to what became his true and obsessive métier, photography. He had a one-man show in London in 1938 .
He died in Colombo on December 19, 1944. 4 Henry Lorenz Wendt b: 24 FEB 1904 - Matriculated at University of Cambridge, London, in 1922
3 Charles Nell Wendt b: 21 JAN 1860 d: 13 SEP 1883
3 David Anderson Wendt b: 26 JUN 1864 d: 21 DEC 1897
2 Julia Arnoldina Eliza Wendt b: 17 FEB 1834 d: 5 DEC 1888 + Charles Lambert Ferdinands b: 5 JUN 1829 d: 10 JUN 1891
2 Dorothea Maria Louisa Wendt b: 16 FEB 1836 + John Andreas Van Twest b: 10 SEP 1829 d: 1881
2 Johanna Henrietta Wendt b: 22 MAR 1838 + Alexander Godlieb Maartensz b: 1830
3 Eliza Alexandra Maartensz b: 15 JUL 1863 + Francis Adolphus Speldewinde b: 31 MAR 1849 d: 20 MAY 1887,
(son of Simon John Speldewinde and Frances Ann DRIBERG, In St. Stephen's Church, Trincomalee, 27th Feb. 1879)
4 Frank Adolphus Speldewinde b: 17 JAN 1880 d: 18 JAN 1950 + Charlotte Evangeline Garvin b: 23 DEC 1877 c: 27 JAN 1878 d: 16 SEP 1926
5 Francis Adolphus Speldewinde b: 13 NOV 1905 + Violet Courtney
5 Evangaline Dawne Garvin Speldewinde b: 23 FEB 1907 d: 1956 + Aellan Edward Toussaint b: 27 FEB 1905 d: 1959
5 Sheila Ruth Garvin Speldewinde b: 14 MAR 1909 + George Hilton Demmer b: 7 JAN 1901
6 George Brian Demmer b: 23 APR 1928
5 Louis Edwin Garvin Speldewinde b: 10 APR 1914 + Wilhelmina Gertruida Spittel b: 27 MAY 1912
4 Gerald Charles Speldewinde b: 13 MAR 1881 + Evelyn Winifred Anthonisz b: 5 FEB 1888
4 Guy Everard Speldewinde b: 12 AUG 1885 + Enlie Schumacher
5 Ivan Speldewinde
5 George Speldewinde b: 3 JUN 1919
5 Zenobe Speldewinde b: FEB 1922
5 Hugo Everard Speldewinde b: 1923
5 Roma Speldewinde b: 1927
3 2nd spouse of Eliza Alexandra Maartensz b: 15 JUL 1863, Batticaloa, m:28-Apr-1897 at St Andrew's Church, Batticaloa, Ceylon.+ Dr. Edwin De Livera, b:25-May-1849,
(Member of British Medical Association), Educated at Colombo Acadamy. In 1870 received Jijeebhoy scholarship Calcutta. In 1873 went to Glasgow and obtained MBCM. 1900 Provincial Surgeon of NW province and Sabaragamuwa. Resided in Kandy. (3109)
3 Alexander Godlieb Maartensz b: 2 JUN 1864 d: 21 JUL 1935 + Edith Isabel Pereira b: 9 OCT 1874
4 Edith Alexandra Maartensz
4 Ruth Kathleen Maartensz
4 Hugh Alexander Maartensz b: 8 OCT 1915
3 Isabella Louise Maartensz b: 14 AUG 1866 d: 2 FEB 1952 + Ernest Henley Joseph b: 16 JUN 1868 d: 13 APR 1941
4 Ernest Mervyn Corbet Joseph b: 20 AUG 1890 + Gladys Blanche Violet Anthonisz b: 16 APR 1896
5 Ninon Lorise Joseph b: 29 NOV 1919 + Peter William Sanders b: 16 JUL 1919
5 Ernest Geoffrey Joseph b: 23 MAY 1924 + Marina Sansoni b: 1 MAY 1925
4 Frank Vere Joseph b: 21 APR 1894 d: 21 JUN 1902
4 Vernon Maartensz Joseph b: 20 APR 1905 + Constance Aileen Foenander b: 18 AUG 1908 c: 18 SEP 1908 d: 11 OCT 1986
4 2nd spouse of Vernon Maartensz Joseph b: 20 APR 1905 + Clara Beatrice Crozier b: 11 MAR 1919
3 Mary Frances Maartensz b: 22 JUN 1868 + Reginald Cecil Buttery
4 Christobel Marjorie Buttery b: 6 MAR 1903 + Seymour Trevor Samuel Da Silva b: 30 OCT 1901
5 Alwynne Dennis Seymour Da Silva b: 7 AUG 1927 d: 29 JUL 1930
5 Frances Marjorie Joyce Da Silva b: 28 NOV 1928 + Douglas Brian Bartholomeusz b: 27 JUL 1929
3 Jane Anna Maartensz b: 8 JUN 1871 + Spencer Colombo
3 Clara Angeline Martensz b: 8 JUN 1873 + Theodore Nathaniel Flamer-Caldera
4 Louise Flamer-Caldera + Hugh Tissera
4 Noel Theodore Flamer-Caldera + Claribel Caroline Van Langenberg b: 8 OCT 1902
3 Lewis Mathew Maartensz b: 9 JUL 1876 d: 14 JAN 1942 + Alice Emmaline Clare Keuneman b: 18 JUL 1880
4 Aline Alice Maartensz
2 Maria Gerardina Wendt b: 16 JUL 1841
Judge of the Supreme Court. Son of George Arnold Wendt, Accountant, and Mary L G Anderson, was born in the year 1838. Received his education at St. Thomas' College, Colombo where he held the Gregory Scholarship, inaugurated in memory of Sir William Gregory, Governor of Ceylon 1872-77. In 1874 he matriculated to the Calcutta University and in 1876 passed the first examination in Arts. On leaving he was called to the Ceylon Bar three years later. He was called to the English Bar and became a member of Gray's Inn. He commenced legal practice at the Supreme and District Courts of Colombo and acted as Solicitor General in 1897 and Attorney General in 1900 and 1901. In August 1901 he was appointed to the post of Acting Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court, and in October of the same year was confirmed in that appointment. He went on to become the Senior Puisne Justice.
Mr Wendt published a volume of law reports for the year 1882-83, while between the years 1892 and 1896 he edited "Supreme Court Circular" Reports and the Ceylon Law Reports".
As a diversion from legal matters Henry Lionel Wendt has given some time to politics. From 1895 to 1900 he was a Member of the Legislative Council representing the Burgher Community. He was also a Member of the Incorporated Council of Legal Education, the Victoria Memorial Home for Incurables and also of the Turf Club. He held the position of President of the YMCA and was a member of the Friend-in-need Society and Voice President of the olocal branch of the Bible Society.
In 1899 he married Amelia, daughter of J H De Saram, CMG, District Judge of Kandy. His private residence was Fountain House down Union Place in Colombo and his favorite pastime was photography at which he was quite adept.
The gallery will open with an exhibition of 150 original photographs of Lionel Wendt and the launch of a book, Lionel Wendt - A Centennial Tribute, comprising 250 photographs printed in four colours, thus retaining all the tonal nuances of the original photographs.
This book will probably be the final book on Wendt. Its text of 50 pages contains extracts from the original book in addition to articles by lan Goonetileke and Manel Fonseka. A limited edition of numbered copies will be sold at a pre-publication price of Rs. 2800/- until January 3, 2001 and a retail price of Rs. 3500/- thereafter.
The book will be available from the Lionel Wendt Art Centre at 18, Guildford Crescent, Colombo 07 and from Iris Colour Graphics Ltd., 95, Cotta Road, Colombo 08.
Musician, photographer, literature collector and aficionado of the arts, Lionel Wendt pioneered a new artistic vision for Ceylon. In her article, 'Redicovering Lionel Wendt' first published in 1994, extracts of which we reproduce today, Manel Fonseka traces Wendt's unique genius.
....the pianist, photographer, critic, and cinematographer Lionel Wendt was the central figure of a cultural life torn between the death rattles of the Empire and a human appraisal of the untapped values of Ceylon. — Pablo Neruda, Memoirs.
Who was Lionel Wendt? Do you know whom the Lionel Wendt Memorial Theatre is named after? Someone called Lionel, no? What do you know about Lionel Wendt? Wasn't he a foreigner, an American? I think I've read several of his books- wasn't he a dramatist? Oh, he was a patron of the arts, but he didn't do anything himself.. or didn't he paint? An actor? No idea — Extracts from interviews, 1994.
In Lionel Wendt's Ceylon, there is a photograph of a leaning signpost on a beach. And on the post is fixed a photograph—of a signpost on a beach. The book's compilers titled it 'Invaded—Desolate' (241). But when Wendt published the photograph ten years earlier he said: 'My own title for the shot is "The Point Beyond Which Everything Repeats Itself ."
To know when that point has been reached, when to stop and turn to explore fresh experiences and new ideas; to sense the moment when craftsmanship begins to submerge vision—this is something that lies at the core of Lionel Wendt's life and art.
This is the man of whom it was said, when he died at the age of 44, that it would be difficult to write adequately about him and his 'profound, beneficent influence on the artistic life of Ceylon.' The tribute of well-known journalist Tori de Souza was only one of many that Wendt's untimely death provoked:
Was there any branch of art with which he was not familiar, in which he did not take a deep and diligent interest, in the pursuit of which he did not help a hundred others, sparing neither his time nor his energy, nor his money.
His amazing skill and unerring instinct for seizing beauty made him internationally famous as a photographer. As a pianist he was even better known in Ceylon. He had that rare capacity for taking infinite pains over everything he played, and his interpretations were ever models of integrity and rigidly disciplined skill. His knowledge of music was prodigious...he knew nearly everything there is to know about painting, and his enthusiasm fired all those artists, young and old, with whom he came in contact.
There, no doubt, lay his greatest, most significant trait: in the tremendous influence for good, unselfish, unspectacular work he had on so many in all branches of art.
One of the first steps in a rediscovery of Lionel Wendt was the exhibition of his photographs—the first after 35 years—at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery in August 1994.
The Society maintained a reading room with books and periodicals and held annual exhibitions with the Ceylon Society of Arts. Lionel was regularly taken by his father to A.W. Andree's Hopetoun Studio, where he was 'particularly intrigued by a large camera on castors with a musical box attached to it for the amusement of children'. His only recreation, wrote Andree's son, 'was a small box camera which my father gave him. In my father's studio he "learned" the fundamentals of an art he was later to revolutionize.' Wendt's mother was an enthusiastic social worker, and organized frequent concerts in aid of charities, for which 'she would go around in search of the best musical talent of the time.
Soon she discovered that her son's genius lay in this direction,' and Lionel's 'concert mentality' seems to have been nurtured from an early age. Press reviews refer to his performances from at least 1911. Perhaps the first public recital that he organized himself was in August 1919, when at the age of 18 he presented a programme of Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Chopin, Creser, Grieg, Debussy and Liszt, in aid of his school building fund. This rare event (only one other Sri Lankan had given a recital of this nature in Colombo before) was described as an 'unforgettable performance' by 'a gifted Ceylonese player—certainly the best of the younger generation of pianoforte players.
Had he been solely determined upon a career as a concert pianist, he might have remained in Europe after the completion of his legal studies. The decision to return in 1924 not only marked the commencement of his adult professional life but also suggests a commitment to his country and an eagerness to intervene in its society, art and culture. Scarcely practising as a lawyer, however, though enrolled as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Ceylon, he soon began to give public recitals, both as soloist and accompanist. His interest in the modern movement is manifest in his earliest concerts, where he introduces works, which had rarely or never been performed here.
As far as painting was concerned, the Colombo Wendt left in 1919 was, in the words of L.C. Van Geyzel, 'if not quite a cultural desert...at best, a genteel wilderness.' The city did not even have an art gallery. The art world was dominated by the officially patronized Ceylon Society of Arts (CSA), whose most ardent promoter was the academic portraitist and art teacher, Mudaliyar A.C.G.S. Amarasekara. Its annual exhibition was a fashionable social event in August Race Week, and reflected little interest in local artistic traditions or international developments in modern art. By the time Wendt returned, its authority was being challenged by the activity of Charles Freegrove Winzer, the unorthodox Government Art Inspector who lived and worked in Sri Lanka from 1920 to 1931. Around 1922, he founded the Ceylon Art Club, providing it with rooms in a Colombo working-class district. In the face of the Ceylon Society of Arts' unyielding and sterile academicism and, as Winzer saw it, 'artistic standard of picture postcards and plagiarism of Royal Academy catalogues', the Art Club held its own annual exhibitions.
Wendt's own influence in the still small but artistically significant circle of emerging painters of the late twenties and thirties was considerable. From his travels he brought back new ideas and experience, as well as paintings, journals and high-quality reproductions. A close friend of the well-known painter George Keyt from boyhood, it is said that around 1927 he urged him to give up poetry and concentrate on painting. Despite this, Keyt was to dedicate two volumes of poetry to him, in 1936 and 1940. Wendt's friendship with the family of the painter W.W. Beling may have begun before Beling's son Geoffrey went to India in 1926 to study architecture and art. He was on the committee of the W.W. Beling Memorial Art Exhibition in 1928, at which Keyt, the younger Beling and a German post-impressionist Otto Scheinhammer also exhibited. Winzer, Geoffrey Beling, Keyt and Justin Pieris (Deraniyagala) showed work at the Art Club exhibition the next year. Wendt bought pictures from all these painters except Deraniyagala, who is reputed never to have sold his work, though he did give Wendt a number of paintings and drawings.
Reflecting dominant opinion in the Society of Arts, however, Mudaliyar Amaraseka, virtually called the exhibits 'ridiculous and degrading,' and those who admired them, 'imposters' or 'degenerates'. Another writer mocked Wendt, calling him a 'modern Moses leading the elect out of the land of the Philistines' to the 'promised land of Cubist, post Impressionist and Futurist Art'—all of which provoked only amused rejoinders from Wendt himself. Winzer had anticipated such reactions, remarking in a foreword to the catalogue that any young artist who 'turned for advice and inspiration to the works of modern masters' was proclaimed as being "morbid" or "not original", an "imitator", a "cubist", a "modernist"—for to belong to our own time, to try and discover new modes of expression or execution is considered a departure from good taste.' In February, Wendt published a thoughtful appraisal of Otto Scheinhammer's farewell exhibition. This, too, provoked a skirmish in the press.
Clearly he found in photography a fluent and ideal medium: 'In the hands of someone who reacts to his surroundings, who sees and feels, and longs to express his reactions, the camera becomes a living thing.' As one who had so much to say (particularly 'of the life of the people of this country' as Len van Geyzel comments), perhaps he found insufficient the interpretative role of concert pianist. It was a time when nationalist and democratic sentiments were increasingly coming to the fore, and the much more popularly accessible and democratic medium of photography may have provided greater channels of expression and communication than classical music in the concert hall, and in the colonial context.
So highly was his work esteemed, and so marvellously had he demonstrated the possibilities of the miniature camera, that Messrs Leitz, manufacturers of the Leica, invited him to hold a one-man show—an honour they had paid only one other living photographer. The exhibition at the Camera Club in London in April 1938 contained 54 enlargements—Sri Lankan landscapes, people at work, ancient and modern sculpture, traditional architectural motifs, festivals, portraits, figure studies and creative composite pictures.
While his most imaginative contribution is his composites and montages, whimsical, disturbing or deeply moving, as for instance, 'The eyes are not here', perhaps he will best be remembered for his inspired photography of the human body. The undeniable eroticism of many of his male and female nudes often diverts attention from the sensitivity with which he treats the female face and form, the delicacy of lighting, or the focus on sinew and muscle.
'Alborada', the house he built and lived in from the late twenties, was demolished in 1950 to make way for the first stage of the Memorial complex. The Memorial Theatre was opened in 1953, and the Lionel Wendt Memorial Art Gallery in May 1959, both based on designs by Geoffrey Beling. The Photographic Society held an exhibition of its work to coincide with the gallery's opening. A display and sale of Wendt's photographs were included but they were not listed in the catalogue. This seems to have been the last public exhibition of his work until 1994.
In 1967, the Lionel Wendt Art Collection was put up for auction. About 20 pictures were bought by the Trust's Chairman Anton Wickremasinghe, who said that he intended 'to make them the nucleus of a collection to be later made available to the public'. On his death in 1993, however, they found their way into new private ownership.
Lionel Wendt was famous at his death, and frequently referred to as Sri Lanka's foremost camera-artist. It is regrettable that a fellow-photographer destroyed all his negatives after Wendt died, on the basis that this was an accepted practice in photographic circles.
If it were not for the single volume of 120 plates, published 46 years ago and long since out of print, Wendt's photographic reputation and contribution would have receded into the obscurity from which Eugene Atget's emerged.
The rediscovery of Lionel Wendt is dependent on the preservation and publication of his extant photographs. It implies not only a consideration of his contribution to Sri Lankan art and culture in the twentieth century, but also an estimation of his place in international photographic history. How much weight would we give today to the assessment made five years after Wendt's death by the director of Song of Ceylon, Basil Wright:I think he was one of the greatest still photographers that ever lived. I should place him among the six best I've come across.
50th Anniversary of the Lionel Wendt Theatre