Liss Llewellyn Fine Art - 20th Century British Art

Robert Austin (1895-1973)   BIOGRAPHY

Our Heritage:Winston Churchill, 1943
Unmounted (ref: 2606)

Signed and dated in the plate

Lithograph, 25 1/4 x 20 in. (64. 2 x 50.8 cm)


Exhibited: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 123. 

Literature: WW2 - War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 123, page 164.

Inscribed Ďprinted for the passengers and staff of London Transport to recall other occasions of the Nationís will and high purposeí

Printed by the Baynard Press

Provenance:Artistís daughter.

This rare lithographic proof comes directly from the artistís family. The London Transport Museum has the same poster in its collection, together with versions of the design in a number of earlier states.

The Underground Group (later London Transport) produced a wide variety of posters during the First and Second World Wars.There was, however, a marked difference between the propaganda element of the posters in both wars: the posters published in the GreatWar presented the conflict as an idealised struggle and urged men to enlist, whereas the posters of the Second World War stressed the individualís role in helping the war effort at home and also aspired to lift the nationís spirits.

Many London Transport posters were issued as a series, for maximum impact. Robert Sargent Austin was commissioned to produce the Our  Heritage Series, depicting heroic British Leaders, such as Nelson,Drake, Pitt and finally Churchill.The aim of these posters was to boost the morale within the travelling public by reminding them what the nation was fighting for.

The anecdote about Churchill that during the war he responded to a request to cut funding to the art with the rebuff, 'then what are we fighting for' is unsubstantiated.

Robert Austin (1895-1973)

Printmaker and draughtsman, born in Leicester. He studied at the School of Art there and at the Royal College of Art, 1914-16 and 1919-22, winning the Rome Scholarship for engraving in the latter year. He taught engraving at the Royal College of Art, 1927-44, becoming Professor in the Department of Graphic Design, 1948-55. Showed with RWS, of which he was a member and President; RE, of which he was a member; and the RA, to which he was elected in 1949. Austin was a meticulous craftsman-engraver and a vigorous draughtsman, as his series of drawings of Women's Auxiliary Air Force and ballooning activities done during World War II shows. The Tate Gallery holds his work.

The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, organised an exhibition of his work in 1980.

More recently he was the subject of two shows at the Fine Art Society plc (2001 and 2002), the latter organised in conjunction with Liss Fine Art Ltd.

See all works by Robert Austin