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Maxwell Armfield HRWS RBA (1882-1972)

Maxwell Ashby Armfield, RBA HRWS (1882-1972)

Maxwell Armfield applied his mastery of many of the traditional skills of Arts and Crafts artists, including tempera, to a highly individual vision characterised by a poetically intense precision.

Born into a Quaker family on 5 October 1881, Maxwell Armfield grew up in Ringwood, Hampshire, and was educated at Sidcot and Leighton Park. As a student at Birmingham School of Art, he was influenced by his fellow students, Henry Payne and Joseph Southall, and by the Pre-Raphaelite paintings in the local art gallery. He visited Italy at the suggestion of his teacher, Arthur Gaskin, and was drawn particularly to early fresco painting. In 1902, he moved to Paris to further his studies at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and the Atelier Colarossi; while there he shared a studio with Keith Henderson, Gaston Lachaise and Norman Wilkinson ‘of Four Oaks’. His career was launched, in 1904, when he sold his Swinburne-inspired painting, Faustine, to the Musée du Luxembourg.

On his return to England in 1905, Armfield began to establish himself in London as a master of many arts and crafts, and of symbolic subjects, in the late Pre-Raphaelite mould.

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