About C. C. G. Edwards

I seem always to have been able to draw and, even as a boy, my sense of perspective drew comment. I think, therefore, that it must be innate – but certainly needed honing. Perhaps there is also a genetic element for other family members painted and one* exhibited at The Royal Academy. However it was certainly my father#, a trained draughtsman who painted in watercolours and drew in Indian ink during the 1930s, who first opened my eyes to nature, drawing and painting. Some of my happiest memories are of sitting beside him on those rare occasions during the war-torn 1940s when I could persuade him to show me how it was done. In particular he taught me the use of the tortillon, which transformed my drawing and cartography, and I still have some of his professionally made examples which must by now be ninety years old. This technique can be seen in “Acorns and Oak Leaves” (449) in the current exhibition.

Thereafter it was not until 1947 that I first encountered art as part of the school curriculum along with a full-time qualified master and well equipped art room. My response was noticed and featured in the first annual exhibition. Alas the opportunity was short-lived – the master soon fell terminally ill and was not replaced in my time. I received no further tuition for a decade – until I sought to rectify this by approaching Thomas Kennedy in 1958.

To enter the chrome yellow door of the Essex weather-boarded seventeenth century cottage in the 1950s was to encounter one’s artistic heritage: the Titian in the studio, a Landseer in the lounge and, while the Constable oil sketches that once hung there did so no longer, the conversation was still of Constable, Cotman and Cox and the Norwich school. The aroma of turpentine, oil and varnish gave physical expression to an atmosphere steeped in art. One of Kennedy’s Royal Academy exhibits hung near the window – the artist himself being a third-generation professional landscape painter named after his Scots grandfather who had sketched with Corot.

For a decade this was my ‘art school’, my ‘apprenticeship’ and my ‘landscape training.’ Here, at last, I studied oil and watercolour technique consistently and from first principles receiving personal tuition from Thomas Kennedy. At a time when the great Schools of Art were abandoning drawing as the basic discipline, it was my privilege to benefit from the continuity of generations from Constable to Kennedy.

Subsequently the Paris Salon exhibited six of my oils in 1968 (November Morning catalogue number 1062, In February 1063 and May Morning 1064) and in 1969 (Summer Cumulus 1123, Village Provencal: Mougins 1124 and Village Provencal: Valbonne 1125).The Mai 1969 edition of La Revue Moderne, Paris, featured the latter trio and, later, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters exhibited an Oil in 1980 (Microcosmos No.10 103) and the Royal Academy a Sepia in 2001 (Dusk 1138).

Today this painter’s perennial tutors are light and water, mist and dew.


* Sir George Edwards OM, CBE FRS DL (1908 – 2003): exhibited 2000.

# Stanley Edwin Edwards (1904 – 1989)