Pastel measuring 28cm x 22cm. Provenance: Artist’s Estate / Abbott & Holder. Framed.
Robert Sargent Austin RA PPRWS PPRE (1895 – 1973) was a noted artist, illustrator, engraver and currency designer and widely considered to be one of Britain’s leading mid-twentieth century printmakers. Austin studied at Leicester Municipal School of Art from 1909 to 1913 then at the Royal College of Art in London where his studies were interrupted by the First World War. He returned to the College in 1919 when he studied etching under Sir Frank Short and was awarded a scholarship in engraving to study in Italy. During the last 10 years of the etching revival between 1920 and 1930 he produced etchings from copper plates worked in very fine detail in an almost Pre-Raphaelite style. During the Second World War Austin worked as a war artist. During that period he produced a portrait of Lord Nelson as one of a series commissioned by London Transport called ‘Our Heritage’ and which also included portraits of William Pitt, Francis Drake, Earl Haig and Winston Churchill. He then returned to teaching at the Royal College of Art as Professor of Engraving from 1946. Austin acted as an advisor on the design of banknotes to the Bank of England between 1956 and 1961 and designed the ten shillings and one pound notes issued in the early 1960s. Austin was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers (R.E.) in 1927 and succeeded Malcolm Osborne to become the Society’s President from 1962 to 1970. He was elected a full member of the Royal Watercolour Society (R.W.S.) in 1934 and served as President from 1957 to 1973. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1939 and to the full membership (R.A.) in 1949 as an engraver.