A/03/49 W Howard Robinson Collection

This collection is the papers of W(illiam) Howard Robinson who was a noted representative artist and portrait painter of the early twentieth century. He was born on 3 November 1864 in Inverness-shire and attended Dulwich College from 1876 to 1882.

He followed his father, William Robinson, into Law and after a brief legal career studied Art at the Slade School under Sir Simeon Solomon. His professional career as a portrait painter began about 1910 when his interest in the sport of fencing led him to sketch all the leading fencers of the day. These sketches were reproduced in the sporting publication The Field leading to further commissions for portraits with a sporting theme.

He became well-known for his sketches and portraits of figures in the sporting world such as Lord Lonsdale, Chairman of the National Sporting Club. His two best known paintings were An Evening at the National Sporting Club (1918) and A Welsh Victory at the National Sporting Club (1922).

This first painting was of the boxing match between Jim Driscoll and Joe Bowker, it took Robinson four years to complete and contained details of 329 sporting celebrities.

The second painting commemorated the historic boxing match between Jimmy Wilde and Joe Lynch that took place on 31 March 1919 and shows the Prince of Wales entering the ring to congratulate the victor, the first time that a member of the royal family had done so.

W Howard Robinson also worked extensively for the society magazine The Bystander (which amalgamated with The Tatler) and produced sketches on a weekly basis of debutantes and society figures. He was commissioned to paint many leading figures of the time including politicians and members of the Royal Family including King George V, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), the Duke of York (later King George VI) and Marina, Duchess of Kent.

In 1927 he founded the British Empire Academy with his patron, Lord Howard de Walden, and became its Vice-chairman. Its mission was to “To promote, aid and unite all the Arts throughout the Empire”.

Catalogue of A/03/49 W Howard Robinson

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