Hubert Arthur Finney (1905 - 1991)

A British Red Cross Society Volunteer 1941

£975

SKU: 10042
Signed and dated 1941. Wash on paper.

Size:
Height – 57.5cm
Width – 38.6cm

1 in stock

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
The Artist’s Studio
Presentation:
framed
Exhibitied:
The Lightbox, Woking, Out of the Shadows, 2020, cat 77

During the war Finney served in the Ambulance Crews of the  Air Raid Precautions Service, later named Civil Defence, for a period of  four years until ‎in 1945 he got pleurisy. 

In his unpublished autobiogarphy he recalled that:

As we were in contact with the Ambulance Service XXXX made many drawings of the nurses, and I had admiration for many of the Ambulance personell, who were youg firls of good breeding and social standing, for their courage during their work when the night boming started and we had no defences.  During the early part of the Battle of Britain, I would go down to an Anderson Shelter in the garden of the house, in which I rented a room and the tenant above me a with with two young children also shared the  shelter through the long night while the German planes did what they liked in the sky above because except for barrage balloons and a little aircraft fire we had no defences in the beginning of the second world war.

On the night of the night of the great fire of London when I could see the red glow increasing over central London, it was my day off from duty, and when I was in my room in Hammersmith I could hear the German Planes approaching at about 6.30 pm and I watched the fires gradually increasing around the city centre and this went on until almost midnight.  ….

My passion for painting and drawing was always with me and becaue the building we were housed in at the the beginning of the war was dreaery and my associates were unawakened to the sense of beauty, my own yearning to create increased not diminished. …. I made a painting of a crater made by a time bomb in the garden of Kingston House where we were housed…..

My health was beginning to show signs of breaking and I was sent to a Civial Defence Convalescent house after a serious broncial cold.  I never ceased to draw and paint and I presented one painting to the Convaslacent Home before I left.  I also painted a ceiling in a municipal theatre and the back stage in the depot of Kinston House and held a drawing class one evening a week for the Ambulance and Rescue Service Personell.

 

Finney trained initially at Bromley School of Art, where he attended evening classes from 1915, and then at  Beckenham School of Art to where he won a trade scholarship in 1918. He studied painting with Amy Katherine Browning and etching with Eric Gill.  Around 1927 he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, where he studied under William Rothenstein.  Horton, Houthuesen, Ososki and Freedman were amongst his friends at the college.  In 1929 after graduation he took up a travelling scholarship to Rome returning to teach part-time at Chelsea School of Art under Percy Jowett and later Harold Sandys Williamson.  From 1927-1934 he exhibited at the NEAC.  In 1935 his painting Mother and Child was acquired by Carlisle Art Gallery.  During WW2 Finney worked for the light rescue service of the Civil Defense.  After the war he taught part time under Anthony Betts at Reading University and was in charge of life drawing there when he retired in 1970.  Although he was reclusive and reluctant to show his work he did exhibit at the RA Summer exhibition  (in 1950 and 1954) and the Portrait Society and at The Paris Salon.  A large solo exhibition took place at the University of Oxford’s Institute of Education in 1964.

 

We are grateful to Brian Foss and Nicholas Finney for assistance

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THE ARTIST

Hubert Arthur Finney
Hubert Arthur
Finney
1905 - 1991

A reclusive figure whose work has remained largely unseen, Finney studied under Eric Gill before winning a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in the early 1920’s; his closest friends there were Charles Mahoney,(1903-1968), Gerald Ososki (1903-1981) and Barnett Freedman (1901-1958). Finney had the good fortune to attend the RCA as part of a golden generation, many of whom went on to become some of Britain’s best loved artists (amongst them Ravilious, Bawden, Hepworth, Moore, Dunbar, Sorrell, and Piper). After a travelling scholarship to Rome, in 1929, Finney returned to become a teacher at Chelsea School of Art – working alongside Henry Moore who was in charge of the Sculpture Department and Graham Sutherland, the Department of Design.

From 1927-1934 he exhibited at the NEAC. In 1935 his painting Mother and Child was acquired by Carlisle Art Gallery. During WW2 Finney worked for the light rescue service of the Civil Defense.

After the war he taught part time under Anthony Betts at Reading University and was in charge of life drawing there when he retired in 1970. Although he was reluctant to show his work he did exhibit at the RA Summer exhibition (in 1950 and 1954) and the Portrait Society and at The Paris Salon. A large solo exhibition took place at the University of Oxford’s Institute of Education in 1964, and at The Lightbox, Woking, in 2022.

We are grateful to Nicholas Finney and David Buckman for assistance.

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