Tuesday, October 24, 2006
When I was at Art School Kenneth Rowntree was the Professor of Painting. He was a bluff and jolly old bloke with trade mark round horn-rims and pipe, but what few sightings I had of his art made me sneer at what I thought was very provincial, middle-class and irrrelevant art.
Needless to say I've now changed my opinion and it's with some shame that I only recently learned Rowntree died in 1997. I also discovered an Edward Bawden connection. From 1941 to 1947 Kenneth Rowntree lived in Great Bardfield near Saffron Walden, Essex. This was very near to Bawden's home and he became part of the Bawden's circle of artist friends. During this time Rowntree was employed on the Recording Britain Project - a scheme devised to make a pictorial record of Britain before the anticipated destruction of World War 2.
The first of these three Kenneth Rowntree paintings comes from this wartime period and is titled View Through A Window (1944.) The next two are both from 1953 and are titled Last Minute Decorations and Country Celebrations.