The artist was born in Newcastle under Lyne, Staffordshire, the son of an Irish builder and railway contractor, who was also described as a stonemason. Encouraged by the novelist Arnold Bennett, he studied at Newcastle and Hanley School of Art where he won a National Scholarship and British Institution Scholarship.
He worked as a ceramic artist, painting figure subjects on porcelain in Boullemeir style. He became the Master of Life Painting at Bristol, married in 1907, and moved to London. He is said to have had some success but gave up the post, and in 1910 studied at the Slade, becoming a friend of Mark GERTLER and Lionel Lea Townley BIRCH.
In 1911 he left his wife and moved to Newlyn in 1912, from which he exhibited at the NEAC, becoming a member in 1914. Meantime he set up home with Laura KNIGHT's model, Dolly Henry (painted by her in a picture later bought by Lord Leverhulme, entitled Mallows). An account of the unhappy relationship ending in the murder of Dolly Henry by his hand, and his subsequent suicide, is elliptically summarised by Laura Knight in Oil Paint & Grease Paint. A romanticised account of the event appears in Gilbert Cannon's novel Mendel (1916).
Figure and portrait painter; ceramics artist
works and access
Access to work: Tate; Stoke on Trent
misc further info
Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall
Knight (1936) Oil Paint and Grease Paint
Tate Gallery Notes (illus)
TFG Jones research: WCAA file
Image Library for Artists Discussed in The New Age at http://modjourn.org/bio_browse.php