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John Austen RBA (1886-1948)

John Archibald Austen, RBA (1886-1948)

Early influenced by the work of Aubrey Beardsley, John Austen developed into an illustrator of wit and elegance by the mid 1920s, producing unusually decorative images that are associated with Art Deco. Both craftsman and auto-didact, he mastered a range of media, including etching and wood-engraving, and absorbed a variety of styles and motifs.

John Austen was born at 19 George Street, Buckland, near Dover, Kent, on 5 January 1886. He was the second child of the carpenter, Walter Austen, and his wife, Priscilla (née Hooker), the daughter of an agricultural labourer. On leaving school, he followed his father, and trained as a carpenter. However, in 1906, he moved to London, determined to become an artist, and initially took Aubrey Beardsley as his model.

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