20th Century British Art
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Eric Kennington (1888-1960)

Sculptor, draughtsman and painter. Born in London, son of the artist Thomas Benjamin Kennington, he studied at Lambeth School of Art (1906-08) and afterwards at the City and Guild School. He exhibited at the RA from 1920; and also showed at Leicester Galleries, Fine Art Society, Goupil Gallery, ROI and RP. Kennington was an Official War Artist, 1916-19, after being invalided out of the army in June 1915. The experience was to have a marked influence on his work: his first one-man show at the Goupil Gallery, April-October 1916, of the Kensingtons at Laventie, created a great impression and identified him in the public mind with depictions of men of action. Soon after the war he travelled in Jordan and Syria (March-May 1921) to illustrate T. E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom. During World War II he produced two books: Drawing the RAF, 1942, and Britain's Home Guard, 1945. He was elected RA in 1959 and died at Reading, Berkshire the following year. His work is represented in the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate. His public sculptural commissions include the Great War memorial at Soissons, France, five relief panels for the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, and a stone relief for the Harold Cohen Memorial Library, University of Liverpool. Between 1936 and 1939 Kennington carved his masterpiece: a recumbent effigy of his great friend T. E. Lawrence. During the last fifteen years of his life, he concentrated on producing sculptures for church interiors. He signed his work 'Eric H. Kennington' (1907 - circa 1915) and 'EHK', (1916-1959).

Selected literature Jonathan Black, The Sculpture of Eric Kennington, Lund Humphries, 2002

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