John, Augustus, 1878-1961

Alternative names
Birth 1878-01-04
Death 1961-10-31

Biographical notes:

The Welsh artist Augustus John was a successful painter and draftsman, and a well known bohemian figure. He was in great demand as a portraitist, although his works were often controversial. During WWI he was employed by the Canadian government as a war artist in France. John visited the United States as a guest of the Carnegie Institute in 1923. In 1942 King George VI awarded him the Order of Merit for services to art.

From the description of Letters, 1917-ca. 1957. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 79598279

Augustus John (1878-1961) was a Welsh artist and portrait painter. He studied at the Slade School in London (1894-1899) and in 1898 won the Slade Prize for his Moses and the Brazen Serpent . In 1914, by then a highly successful artist in Britain, he obtained a commission in the Canadian Army with permission to paint whatever he like on the Western Front. Although he was sent home only two months later for brawling, he attended the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919 and painted several of the delegates. By the 1920s John had become Britain's leading portrait painter whose sitters included Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, and T.E. Lawrence. Late in his life he wrote his autobiography in two volumes, Chiaroscuro and Finishing Touches .

From the guide to the Augustus John Letters, 1933-1958, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

Epithet: painter

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000696.0x00002a

Augustus John was a Welsh painter and a leading proponent of the avant-garde in Edwardian England. He excelled at the Slade School of Art, mastering composition and fine drawing in the traditional style; his work soon became more colorful, and his style freer. He lived a flamboyant, bohemian lifestyle, and is probably best remembered for his portraits of contemporary personalities, including George Bernard Shaw, T.E. Lawrence, Thomas Hardy, and Tallulah Bankhead. His sister, Gwen, was also an artist.

From the description of Augustus John letter to Mr. Ellis, 1924 Dec. 4. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 56717766

British painter.

From the description of Autograph letter signed (written in the English version of Romany) : Matching Green, Essex, to Donald Struan Robertson, postmark 1903 Dec. 25. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270491672


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  • Authors, Irish
  • Painters--Correspondence
  • Art--British (?)--Reproductions
  • Art--Painters
  • Artists--Correspondence
  • Art, British
  • Artists' books
  • Portrait drawing
  • Painters, Wales
  • Portrait painters
  • Painting, Modern--20th century


  • Painter
  • Artists
  • Etchers


  • Lake Maggiore, Piedmont and Lombardy (as recorded)
  • Le Canadel, France (as recorded)
  • Grez-sur-Loing, Seine-et-Marne (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Rheims, Marne (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Les Baux, Bouches-du-Rhône (as recorded)
  • Monte Carlo, Monaco (as recorded)
  • York, Yorkshire (as recorded)
  • Naerödalen, Norway (as recorded)