Sir W. Henry Eccleston

Sir W. Henry Eccleston busted loose out of Trench Town, Kingston, Jamaica, riding high on the wings of visual art. Other friends of his did so with music - future international legends such as Bob Marley, Joe Higgs, Peter Tosh, Delroy Wilson and Alton Ellis. Inspired by their success, Eccleston first tried his hand at music. With the advice of Bob Marley and Joe Higgs, who lovingly told him that he was not committed enough, he split, and turned to Gospel. He made several singles with a group called the Councillers, including one that paired his voice with Heptones' leader Leroy Sibbles.

But it was the visual arts that spoke most strongly to him, and in which he ultimately found his calling. He attended the Jamaica School of Art on a scholarship he had received from Boys Town in Trench Town. He graduated in 1971 and within three years he held his first one man exhibition, then left for the U.S. He is represented in the Jamaican National Musuem by a painting entitled, "Lover's Meditation" which they acquired in 1974. In the U.S., he did advanced studies at Pratt and New York University. He is now the owner of his own art gallery and framing shop in South Brooklyn.

Eccleston admits that the vast amount of American music which passed through Jamaica influenced him greatly. He is a keen student of history, and the wealth of information that he has sponged up musically and visually as he witnessed the Trench Town diaspora has earned him the title Sir W. Henry Eccleston. This honorific was bestowed upon him by the Midnight Ravers, who created a spot for him on their award winning radio program on WBAI 99.5 FM in New York City.

Roger Steffens
Founding Editor, The Beat

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