Public Collection

On Loan

Finney, Hubert Arthur

(1905 – 1991)

Self Portrait

SKU: 7654


Height: 45cm
Width: 36cm


The Artist’s Family

Exhibited: The Lightbox, Woking, Out of the Shadows, 2020, cat 6;  WW2 – War Pictures by British Artists, Morley College London, 28 October -23 November 2016, cat 147. 

Literature: WW2 – War Pictures by British Artists, Edited by Sacha Llewellyn & Paul Liss, July 2016, cat 147, page 188.

Llewellyn, Sacha, and Paul Liss. Portrait of an Artist. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p.315.

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.   The Civil Defence  uniform consisted of  blue dungarees with the ARP badge on their left breast.

In this self portrait Finney wears a red tie – suggesting that it dates to 1945  he was convalescing (red ties had been used since the First World War to show that the wearer was ill or wounded and that he was a Serviceman).  Indeed in his unpublished autobiography  Finney records that towards the end of the war:  My health was beginning to show signs of breaking and I was sent to a Civil Defence Convalescent house after a serious bronchial cold.  I never ceased to draw and paint and I presented one painting to the Convalescent 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 Personnel.

In addition to the red tie hospital clothing consisted of  a dark blue serge military type suit, grey or greyish-blue shirt.

The Rescue Services – Heavy and Light – were Auxiliary Services that worked in close co-operation with the National Fire Service and the Auxiliary Fire Service.  The latter put out the fires and the former searched the wreckage of damaged buildings in order to rescue anyone who might be trapped or to remove the bodies of those who had been killed in a raid.  Some of this could be done manually (Light Branch), but heavy equipment – cranes etc – was required if major collapses had taken place (the Heavy Branch).  Debris also had to be cleared off the streets in order that the life of the town/city could return, as near as possible, to normal as soon as possible.  Essentially theirs was a clearing up job after having done their best to extricate casualties or victims.

We are grateful to Andrew Cormack and Nicholas Finney for assistance

Liss Llewellyn are continually seeking to improve the quality of the information on their website. We actively undertake to post new and more accurate information on our stable of artists. We openly acknowledge the use of information from other sites including Wikipedia, and and other public domains. We are grateful for the use of this information and we openly invite any comments on how to improve the accuracy of what we have posted.


Finney, Hubert Arthur

1905 – 1991

Hubert Arthur Finney was a painter, draughtsman and teacher who 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 Nicholas Finney and David Buckman for assistance.


Hubert Arthur Finney
Still life with onion and peppers, circa 1966
Hubert Arthur Finney
Light drawing away darkness. 1950’s
Hubert Arthur Finney
The Yacht Race on Lake Michigan, 1966
Hubert Arthur Finney
Life boats and deck at night, set of 8 lithographs, 1930’s
Hubert Arthur Finney
Houses and Woods
Hubert Arthur Finney
A British Red Cross Society Volunteer 1941
Hubert Arthur Finney
Self-portrait by Studio Window, circa 1948
Hubert Arthur Finney
Firework Display on Hampstead Heath, 1934
Hubert Arthur Finney
Portrait of a Woman, circa 1920
Hubert Arthur Finney
Langford; view through a window – (second year composition)
Hubert Arthur Finney
Madonna with Attendant Angel, circa 1950
Hubert Arthur Finney
Self Portrait, c.1960