Armstrong, John

(1893 – 1973)

Suggested Design for The Pleasure of Living, Shell Centre London Circa 1961


SKU: 5553

Signed and inscribed with title and measurements
13 5/8 x 10 5/8 in. (34.5 x 27 cm)

Height: 34.5cm
Width: 27cm

1 in stock


Private Collection
The Pleasure of Living mural at Shell Centre London was conceived  by Armstrong circa 1961.  Shell Centre was constructed in 1961, to a design by Sir Howard Robertson and was one of the  first London office towers to exceed the height of the Victoria Tower of the Palace of Westminster. It occupies part of the site cleared for the 1951 Festival of Britain.
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Armstrong, John

1893 – 1973

Painter of imaginative and classical subjects in oil, tempera and gouache; mural painter; designer of film and stage sets; book illustrator and advertising designer. He was born in Hastings, Sussex. After Oxford University, Armstrong studied at St John’s Wood School of Art, 1913-14, then after service in the Army in World War I returned to St John’s Wood briefly. He held his first one-man show at the Leicester Galleries in 1928. In 1933 he became a member of Unit One, after which his work took on a surrealist character. In the 1930s Armstrong worked as a designer for theatre and film, including the first performance of the ballet Façade and several films made by Sir Alexander Korda. He also did work for Shell-Mex and ICI. During World War II Armstrong was an Official War Artist. For the Festival of Britain 1951, he was commissioned to produce The Storm, and exhibited extensively at the RA from that year. He painted a ceiling for the Council Chamber, Bristol, in 1955 and six years later a mural for the Royal Marsden Hospital, at Sutton, Surrey. Armstrong had strong left-wing political convictions and from the time of the Spanish Civil War, when he painted Pro Patria, his pictures occasionally reflected his views. Symbolism is also a feature of his work. Armstrong’s pictures are fastidiously painted in muted colours and reflect his own dry wit and gentle nature. Along with John Banting, he is one of only a handful of British artists whose oeuvre can be correctly described as surrealist. The RA held a memorial exhibition in 1975. He lived in London.


John Armstrong
The Peculiar Park with woman on bench, study for Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, Surrey, 1961
John Armstrong
The Peculiar Park, Study for Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, Surrey, 1961
John Armstrong
Suggested Design for The Pleasure of Living, Shell Centre London Circa 1961
John Armstrong
Suggested Decoration for The Pleasures of Living mural, Shell Centre, circa 1961
John Armstrong
Suggested Design forThe Pleasure of Living mural at Shell Centre, circa 1961