Charles Cundall, RA RWS RP NEAC NS SMA (1890-1971)
Charles Cundall was born in Stretford, Lancashire on 6 September 1890. His first artistic training came as an apprentice at Pilkington’s Pottery, designing pottery and stained glass under the Scottish designer Gordon Forsyth. In 1912, he studied at Manchester School of Art, before being awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Art. However, his studies were interrupted in 1914 by the outbreak of the First World War. Serving in the Royal Fusiliers, Cundall was wounded in the right arm, forcing him to learn to paint with his left hand before returning to the RCA in 1918.
He studied at the Slade School of Art from 1919 to 1920, before completing his education at the Academie Colarossi in Paris. Following the completion of his studies, Charles Cundall travelled extensively, visiting Italy in 1921 and 1923, and also travelling to Sweden, Russia and Spain. The first solo show of his work was exhibited at Colnaghi’s in Mayfair, London in 1927, followed by a number of exhibitions at leading London societies. He was elected to the New English Art Club (1924), the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (1933), the Royal Society of Painters in Water-Colours (ARWS 1935, RWS, 1941) and the Royal Academy (ARA 1937, ARA 1944). At the start of the Second World War, Charles Cundall worked on a number of short-term contracts for the War Artists’ Advisory Committee before being given a full-time salaried commission as an Admiralty artist to work on Merchant Navy subjects, working on the Thames, the Medway and in the West Country. In 1941, he was assigned to the Air Ministry, where he worked on Bomber Command and Coastal Command subjects. In 1943, he was commissioned to paint the commemoration ceremony for the Battle of Britain, before visiting Quebec in 1944. He died in London on 4 November 1971. Collections of his work are held in the Imperial War Museum, the RAF Museum and Southampton City Art Gallery.