Roland Collins (1918-2015)
A Londoner by birth, Roland Collins was educated at Kilburn grammar school, whence with the encouragement of the art master Robert Whitmore and the munificence of a grant from the London county council of £25 a year, he was able to go to the St Martins School of Art, in the Charing Cross Road. Then worked as a studio assistant for the London Press Exchange advertising agency and freelanced as a lettering artist. Working in gouache he began what to be the main work of his life: painting topographical scenes, inspired by the art of Bawden, Piper and Ravilious, the artists he most admired, but in a strong personal style. A drawing of Chiswick was shown at the
Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1937 and several more in 1939.
His view of Waltham Abbey was included by Wyndham Lewis in his selection at the Royal Academy in 1938. From his 40-year long base in the artistic heartland of Fitzrovia, he exhibited regularly and widely in London, including at the Royal Society of Watercolours and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and more recently several times at the Michael Parkin Art Gallery. His other achievements include designing for Decca the sleeve of the first British LP cover in 1945 (Stravinsky’s Petroushka), several murals for restaurants, a superb suite of lithographs for Noel Carrington’s book Colour and Pattern in the Home, 1954, writing and illustrating children’s books and, after meeting the renowned photographer Izis, took photographs of Dieppe (which he went to in the 1950s in search of Sickert and to which he has returned ever since) a selection appeared in Dieppe - Visage d’une Ville de Province, published in 1995. He contributed to the Insight Guide to Normandy (1994). The Museum of London and Camden Borough hold his works.