At the age of twenty-two Finney’s talent gained him a Scholarship to the Royal College of Art. Here he was taught and mentored by William Rothenstein (1872-1945) – described by Finney as ‘a dynamic personality with high ideals, and a deep love of all the arts except music. His powerful personality infiltrated throughout the whole college and his deep belief in the significance of the Arts gave the students and most people who came in contact with him a feeling that any effort was worthwhile in finding a deeper meaning to life’. Finney was also taught be Allan Gwynne-Jones (1892-1982), Professor of Painting, who described him as ‘one of the best students we have had. He is very gifted as a painter and designer’
Mahoney (with who had gained a scholarship to the RCA in advance of Finney) introduced him to a new circle: Gerald Ososki (1903-1981), Albert Houthnesen, (1903-1979 ) Percy Horton, (1897-1970) and Barnett Freedman (1901-1958) – becoming himself one of the prodigies who created a golden generation at the college between the wars. Group portrait by Freedman. None the less Finney wished that the RCA had ‘been a little more open to the contemporary movements of the time’
This study dates to Finney’s student years at the Royal College of Art.