As a figure draughtsman, Horton was talented and his
portrait drawings and paintings are the work of a sensitive artist of
intense concentration, intellectual power and human understanding. His daughter Kay was a naturally favourite model.
Born in Brighton, Percy Horton attended the School of Art there from
1912-1916. During the First Word War he became a conscientious objector
and was sentenced to two years hard labour in Carlton Prison, Edinburgh,
from 1916-18. After the war, he took up his studies again at the
Central School of Art 1918-20 and the Royal College of Art 1922-24. In
1925 he was appointed art master at Bishop’s Stortford College and also
began giving classes at the Working Men’s College in London.
member of the AIA (Allied International Artists) during the 1930’s he
believed that artists should be socially committed and he painted a
series of portraits of the unemployed during the Depression. He taught
at the RCA between 1930 and 1949.
During the Second World War the
college was evacuated to Ambleside and he produced a series of paintings
of the Lake District and its people. At the request of the War Artists
Advisory Committee he drew portraits and painted scenes in war factories
and this collection is now in the Imperial War Museum. In 1949 Horton
was elected Ruskin Master of Drawing at Oxford University and remained
in this post until his retirement in 1964. His favourite areas for his
paintings were the South Downs around Firle and the farmsteads of
Horton exhibited in numerous group
shows, including the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Arts Council
travelling exhibitions, Royal Society of British Artists, New English
Art Club, Ashmolean Museum and the Brighton Art Gallery. A memorial
retrospective was held at the Mall Galleries in 1971. His work may be
seen in the permanent collections of the Tate, National Portrait
Gallery, Arts Council, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge., and a number of
city art galleries.