Hackney, Alfred: Allotments and Kilns


A strongly evocative pen, ink and watercolour of an everyday scene in the Potteries in the early 1950s, showing Arthur Hackney’s typical strong lines and use of body colour, signed and marked ’51, framed.

The painting is numbered 143 from the ‘Hertfordshire Schools Art Loan Collection’ formed from 1949 and discontinued in 2017.

More images can be provided on request.

Artist: Alfred Hackney

Title and date: Allotments and Kilns, 1951

Size: 27 x 40 cms.


Artist description:

An artist in etching, engraving, pen and watercolour, Arthur Hackney was also a freelance illustrator and designer. Typically painting in body colour (opaque watercolour), he created firm and rigorously designed images whether of trees, buildings, figures or seascapes, his work was strongly graphic and almost architectural in its line.

The second of five brothers, he was born in Stainforth near Doncaster to which his father, a coalminer, moved when the North Staffordshire coalfields closed during the General Strike. When he was 6, the family returned to the Potteries where he subsequently took a job as an apprentice engraver decorating pottery for Johnson Bros. On the strength of a drawing of a single daffodil completed when he was 11, he was accepted as a part-time student at Burslem School of Art near Stoke-on-Trent. His teacher, Reginald C Haggar, a traditional watercolour artist, encouraged him to apply to the Royal College of Art in 1943 where he was accepted.

War service was spent with the Royal Navy on the north Atlantic convoys; he was present at the Battle of Murmansk in the Arctic and took part escorting vessels during the D-day landings. He was demobbed in 1946 and finally took up his place at the Royal College of Art in the Engraving Department whose Head, Professor Robert Austin, was one of the finest printmakers of the 20th century. From the College, Hackney won a travelling scholarship which took him to France and Italy for 12 months.

On graduating in 1949, Hackney became a lecturer at West Surrey College of Art and Design, where he stayed for the rest of his career (the College later became the Farnham School of Art and subsequently the University of Creative Arts Farnham). He became Head of Printmaking and Deputy Head of Fine Arts, and helped establish the Photography Department.

He was elected to the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1949 and to the Royal Watercolour Society in 1951 where he exhibited, and also at the Royal Academy and with the London Group. Hackney’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, the art galleries of Bradford, Wakefield, Nottingham, Keighley, Sheffield and Preston, the City Art Gallery in the Potteries and the Art Gallery of Wellington in New Zealand.

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