Eric Kennington 1888-1960


Danish Bacon Company
Private Collection
Eric Kennington was born in London in 1888 and studied first at the Lambeth School of Art and then at the City and Guilds School, Kennington. He served in the First World War in France between 1914 and 1915, and returned to the Front after being invalided out of the army as an Official War Artist between 1916 and 1919. In 1916, Kennington exhibited his monumental painting, 'The Kensingtons at Laventie', at Goupil Gallery, London, depicting his exhausted unit resting in the French village of Laventie after four days in the trenches in bitterly cold weather. Kennington also served as an Official War Artist in the Second World War. Between the wars he worked mainly as a portraitist, but also did book illustrations including for his life-long friend T. E. Lawrence's 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom' (1926) and sculpture commissions including the Monument to the 24th Division in Battersea Park and the effigy of T. E. Lawrence for his tomb (1940). Kennington is particularly remembered for his idealised yet powerful pastel portraits of servicemen during the Second World War. He died in Reading in 1960.