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Percy Frederick Horton MA, RBA, ARCA (8 March 1897 in Brighton, England – 1970) was an English painter and art teacher, and Ruskin Master of Drawing,
University of Oxford , mottoeng = The Lord is my light , established = , endowment = £6.1 billion (including colleges) (2019) , budget = £2.145 billion (2019–20) , chancellor ...
from 1949 to 1964. During the First World War he was imprisoned as a conscientious objector.


Early life

Horton was one of three brothers born into a working-class family in Brighton; his father, Percy Horton, was a bus conductor and his mother, Ellen (née Marman), had worked in service and as a nurse. His younger brother was artist Ronald Horton (1902–1981).Ronald Horton
National Archives; retrieved 21 May 2011
Horton's parents provided for music lessons where he chose to learn the violin. During his time at school he developed an interest in acting in school plays, and giving impromptu street performances. His mother was instrumental in encouraging her sons' education, and all three received scholarships to Brighton Municipal Secondary School. Horton attended the
Brighton School of Art Founded as the Brighton School of Art in 1859, the University of Brighton School of Art and Media is an organisational part of the University of Brighton, with courses in the creative arts, visual communication, media, craft and fashion and textil ...
between 1912 and 1916, again with a scholarship, where he gained a distinction in the Department of Education Drawing Examination.Barnes, Janet (1982) ''Percy Horton 1897–1970'' Sheffield City Art Galleries


Conscientious objection

Horton had become a socialist and a member of the Labour Party through the influence of the ''Labour Leader'', the anti-war weekly publication of the
Independent Labour Party The Independent Labour Party (ILP) was a British political party of the left, established in 1893 at a conference in Bradford, after local and national dissatisfaction with the Liberals' apparent reluctance to endorse working-class candidates ...
. Following First World War conscription in 1916 he joined the Brighton branch of the
No-Conscription Fellowship The No-Conscription Fellowship was a British pacifism, pacifist organization which was founded in London by Fenner Brockway, Baron Brockway, Fenner Brockway and Clifford Allen, 1st Baron Allen of Hurtwood, Clifford Allen on 27 November 1914, aft ...
, and refused to be called up, maintaining an absolutist conscientious objection. On 21 March 1916 as an absolutist he argued at Brighton
Military Service Tribunal Military Service Tribunals were bodies formed by borough, Urban district (Great Britain and Ireland), urban district and rural district councils to hear applications for exemption from conscription into the British Army during the First World War. ...
against even non-combatant service, but his request for complete exemption was refused. Although being a conscientious objector, he was still considered a soldier subject to military discipline, and upon not reporting for duty with the Royal Fusiliers he was arrested by the civil police, brought before Brighton Magistrates' Court, fined and handed over to the Army. For disobeying orders he was court-martialled in
Edinburgh Edinburgh ( ; gd, Dùn Èideann ) is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian (interchangeably Edinburghshire before 1921), it is located in Lothian on the southern shore of t ...
on 7 August 1916 and sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour, served at Calton Prison, Edinburgh. He was court-martialled twice more before his release, on grounds of serious ill-health, "to the care of his friends", in December 1917.


After the First World War

After the war he returned to Brighton. From 1919 to 1920 he studied at the
Central School of Arts and Crafts The Central School of Art and Design was a public art school, school of fine arts, fine and applied arts in London, England. It offered foundation and degree level courses. It was established in 1896 by the London County Council as the Central ...
, London, under
Archibald Standish Hartrick Archibald Standish Hartrick (7 August 1864 – 1 February 1950) was a Scottish painter known for the quality of his lithographic work. His works covered urban scenes, landscapes and figure painting and he was a founder member of the Senefelder ...
and
Francis Ernest Jackson Francis Ernest Jackson (15 August 1872 – 11 March 1945) was a British painter, draughtsman, poster designer and lithographer. Background Francis Ernest Jackson was born on 15 August 1872 in Huddersfield, the son of a printer. He was appre ...
. Hartrick taught Horton a drawing method that emphasised rhythmic outline – previously introduced to English art school education by the late
Slade Slade are an English rock band formed in Wolverhampton in 1966. They rose to prominence during the glam rock era in the early 1970s, achieving 17 consecutive top 20 hits and six number ones on the UK Singles Chart. The ''British Hit Singles ...
professor Alphonse Legros – and this stress on quality of line when drawing the life model became a major influence on Horton's future work. Upon leaving the Central School, Horton became an art teacher at
Rugby School Rugby School is a public school (English independent boarding school for pupils aged 13–18) in Rugby, Warwickshire, England. Founded in 1567 as a free grammar school for local boys, it is one of the oldest independent schools in Britain. ...
. He resigned from Rugby in 1922 to continue his art studies at the
Royal College of Art The Royal College of Art (RCA) is a public research university in London, United Kingdom, with campuses in South Kensington, Battersea and White City. It is the only entirely postgraduate art and design university in the United Kingdom. It o ...
(RCA), then under the auspices of the new principal
William Rothenstein Sir William Rothenstein (29 January 1872 – 14 February 1945) was an English painter, printmaker, draughtsman, lecturer, and writer on art. Emerging during the early 1890s, Rothenstein continued to make art right up until his death. Though he c ...
, where he was awarded a solo Royal Exhibition and passed the Department of Education Examination in Painting with distinction. He was also awarded the ARCA Diploma with Distinction in Painting, and the RCA Drawing Prize for 1924. His contemporaries at the college included Henry Moore,
Edward Bawden Edward Bawden, (10 March 1903 – 21 November 1989) was an English painter, illustrator and graphic artist, known for his prints, book covers, posters, and garden metalwork furniture. Bawden taught at the Royal College of Art, where he had be ...
and
Eric Ravilious Eric William Ravilious (22 July 1903 – 2 September 1942) was a British painter, designer, book illustrator and wood-engraver. He grew up in Sussex, and is particularly known for his watercolours of the South Downs and other English landsc ...
. Upon leaving the RCA he became the Drawing Master at
Bishop's Stortford College Bishop's Stortford College is a independent day and boarding school in the English public school tradition for more than 1,200 pupils aged 4–18, situated in a campus on the edge of the market town of Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, Englan ...
, a position he held until 1930. This became the beginning of a lifetime of teaching. In 1930 he was invited by William Rothenstein to join the staff at the RCA, where he remained for 19 years, to instruct in its Painting School. He also joined The Working Men's College
J. F. C. Harrison John Fletcher Clews Harrison (28 February 1921 – 8 January 2018), usually cited as J. F. C. Harrison, was a British academic who was Professor of History at the University of Sussex and author of books on history, particularly relating to Victor ...
''A History of the Working Men's College'' (1854–1954), Routledge Kegan Paul, 1954
as a teacher of art under its new Director of Art Classes,
James Laver James Laver, CBE, FRSA (14 March 1899 – 3 June 1975) was an English author, critic, art historian, and museum curator who acted as Keeper of Prints, Drawings and Paintings for the Victoria and Albert Museum between 1938 and 1959. He was al ...
, having been recommended by Rothenstein. Horton had begun to teach at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford in 1933, but when the RCA relocated to
Ambleside Ambleside is a town and former civil parish, now in the parish of Lakes, in Cumbria, in North West England. Historically in Westmorland, it marks the head (and sits on the east side of the northern headwater) of Windermere, England's larges ...
during Second World War he found travel between Ambleside and Oxford difficult; consequently he resigned from Ruskin. After the War the RCA returned to London but the transition for the college was problematic and confused, with a lack of equipment and changes in teaching staff. Horton retained his post although tenure was uncertain. However, in 1949 he was appointed the Master of Drawing at Ruskin where his students included
R. B. Kitaj Ronald Brooks Kitaj (; October 29, 1932 – October 21, 2007) was an American artist who spent much of his life in England. Life He was born in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, United States. His Hungarian father, Sigmund Benway, left his mother, Jeanne ...
, who remembered him fondly as having 'really turned me on to Cézanne as well as insisting on regular life drawing' and John Updike. Also during World War II, Horton received a number of short-term commissions from the
War Artists' Advisory Committee The War Artists Advisory Committee (WAAC), was a British government agency established within the Ministry of Information at the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 and headed by Sir Kenneth Clark. Its aim was to compile a comprehensive artist ...
to paint portraits of civil defense staff and civilian factory workers. Possibly the most notable of these is his depiction of blind workers in a Birmingham factory. In 1947 he, with Paul Hogarth, Laurence Scarfe and
Ronald Searle Ronald William Fordham Searle, CBE, RDI (3 March 1920 – 30 December 2011) was an English artist and satirical cartoonist, comics artist, sculptor, medal designer and illustrator. He is perhaps best remembered as the creator of St Trinian's S ...
, was invited to Yugoslavia to observe and record a 150-mile railway being built through voluntary labour; Horton drew the leading figures of the project. His interest had begun to lie in portraiture and landscape. This led to portrait commissions from Oxford Colleges, and to the renting of a gamekeeper's tower near
Firle Firle (; Sussex dialect: ''Furrel'' ) is a village and civil parish in the Lewes district of East Sussex, England. Firle refers to an old-English/Anglo-Saxon word ''fierol'' meaning overgrown with oak. Although the original division of East ...
and
Alfriston Alfriston is a village and civil parish in the East Sussex district of Wealden, England. The village lies in the valley of the River Cuckmere, about four miles (6 km) north-east of Seaford and south of the main A27 trunk road and part ...
where he painted during weekends and vacations until the end of his life. He left his post as Ruskin's Master of Drawing in 1964 and moved to Lewes, from where he taught part-time at the Sir John Cass School and Hastings School of Art, while concentrating on his own work and frequently visiting
Provence Provence (, , , , ; oc, Provença or ''Prouvènço'' , ) is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône to the west to the Italian border to the east; it is bor ...
. During his lifetime, Horton exhibited at the Royal Academy, the
New English Art Club The New English Art Club (NEAC) was founded in London in 1885 as an alternative venue to the Royal Academy. It continues to hold an annual exhibition of paintings and drawings at the Mall Galleries in London, exhibiting works by both members and a ...
, the
Artists' International Association The Artists' International Association (AIA) was an organisation founded in London in 1933 out of discussion among Pearl Binder, Clifford Rowe, Misha Black, James Fitton, James Boswell, James Holland, Edward Ardizzone, Peter Laszlo Peri'Artis ...
, Arts Council travelling exhibitions, Brighton Art Gallery, and the Ashmolean Museum. His work is held in the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery,
Tate Tate is an institution that houses, in a network of four art galleries, the United Kingdom's national collection of British art, and international modern and contemporary art. It is not a government institution, but its main sponsor is the U ...
,
Fitzwilliam Museum The Fitzwilliam Museum is the art and antiquities museum of the University of Cambridge. It is located on Trumpington Street opposite Fitzwilliam Street in central Cambridge. It was founded in 1816 under the will of Richard FitzWilliam, 7th Vis ...
Cambridge, and the Arts Council.''Percy Horton''
The Dulwich Society; retrieved 21 May 2011


References


External links

*
Liss Fine Arts – Percy Horton
retrieved 21 May 2011
Exhibition – Portraits and Landscape Paintings 1 December 1982 – 24 December 1982
northumbria.ac.uk; retrieved 21 May 2011
The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art
retrieved 22 May 2011 {{DEFAULTSORT:Horton, Percy 1897 births 1970 deaths 20th-century English painters Academics of the University of Oxford Academics of the Royal College of Art Alumni of the Royal College of Art Alumni of the Central School of Art and Design Alumni of the University of Brighton Artists from Brighton British conscientious objectors English male painters World War II artists 20th-century English male artists