Liss Llewellyn Fine Art - 20th Century British Art

Robert Austin (1895-1973)   BIOGRAPHY

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The Horse of Ostend, 1921
Unmounted (ref: 3035)

Engraving, printed from the cancelled plate

Plate size: 6 x 7 1/2 in. (15 x 19.2 cm.), 

Paper size: 9 5/8 x 11 in. (24.5 x 28 cm.)


Austin Served in the Royal Garrison Artillery as a gunner.
He had been at the Royal College for a brief spell before the outbreak of the war.
After the First World War, where he served as a gunner, Austin recommenced his studies at the RCA and received his diploma in 1921.  He then set off travelling with his student friend and  lodger Norman Tennant who later recalled:

In the long vacation of 1921, we decided to take our cycles over to France and travel down the old battle line to renew our acquaintance with the places where we had been during the War.  We landed at Ostend and it was here that he made the sketch “The Horse of Ostend”, with its background of quayside houses.

We cycled westwards to Nieuport, where was where the old trench system reached the coast ….
A short distance to the South lay Ypres, which was slowly beginning to emerge from the devestation caused by 4 years of constant shelling.  Here we made a number of drawings and water-colours under the critical eye of a group of small boys.

Robert Austin and Norman Tennant, A Record of Friendship, The Kylin Press 1982

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