London-born (3 April, 1856) Craft was the son of John Craft, formerly of Milton, Kent. Educated privately, he then attended University College London, and studied art at Heatherley's and the Slade under Poynter and Legros (Gold and Silver medalist).
He was an early arrival in Newlyn (in 1885), and later was intimately involved in the setting up and organising of the Newlyn Industrial Class Project with his wife Alice Elizabeth TIDY, who led classes in needlecraft. They were both exceedingly generous with their time and artistic gifts, and played focal roles in the life of the both artistic communities at Newlyn and St Ives. Craft involved himself with all of the Newlyn theatricals, and served on the Provisional Committee of NAG when the new institution opened on 22nd October 1895, becoming its Honorary Secretary.
Flanagan (2010) notices his arrival to the village of Buckden, Huntingdonshire in 1899 in her review of Artists along the Ouse, where the couple remained for six years in the first instance, then returning for a period during WWI. A local newspaper commented 'Few people have left behind them at Buckden a happier memory than Mr and Mrs Craft.' (p44) This was due to Craft's continuing enthusiasm for musicals, pantomimes and theatricals which won popular interest, as they had in Newlyn. Thomas Cooper GOTCH and his family turned up in the district of the Ouse river at around the same time, as did another old friend who had been at Heatherley's and the Slade with him, George Jacomb-Hood (1857-1929).
Craft continued to exhibit at NAG, showing A Good Hand in 1902 after leaving Cornwall in the late 1890s. Over the following twenty years he was the organising Secretary of the Royal British Colonial Society of Artists (RBC) that he ran with Gotch and Jacomb-Hood, and the first Honorary Secretary (and part founder) of the Imperial Arts League. He was the Organizing Secretary of the Fine Art Section of the British Empire Trade Exhibition in Buenos Aires in 1931.
Percy Craft died on 26 November, 1934, age 78 in London (GRO), his wife having pre-deceased him in 1932.
Painter in watercolours, oils and pastel; professional actor; arts administrator
works and access
Works include: Heva! Heva! (1889); Tucking A School of Pilchards off the Cornish Coast (1897); Codlings; The Empty Chair (1889); Two's company; Three's None; A Hunting Song, A Newlyn Garden; The Cliff Road (all c1889, the latter two works sold to the Bolitho family); Buryas Bridge (1898); Walls have ears (1924); The Elder Sister and Harvest (both1934)
Access to work: Penlee House, Penzance; St Ives; Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Described as RBC
OS; Paris; NG; L; M; B; RI
Notts (3) 1894;
St Ives August 1889
NAG Opening 1895, 1889, March 1895, July 1896, March 1898, December 1924
ARCA December 1926, July 1932
STISA 1934 Touring Show
RBC 1888 onwards
NSA 1895-1924 (Founding Hon Sec)
misc further info
Cornishman 28 Mar 1889, 1 Aug 1889, 8 Dec 1926
Flanagan, B (2010) Artists along the Ouse 1880-1930 p44
Hardie (1995) 100 Years in Newlyn: Diary of a Gallery (photo likeness with wife)
Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (Col pl: jacket cover)
Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly: Oil Paintings in Public Ownership
Tovey (2003) Creating a Splash;
Tovey (2009) St Ives: Social History;
The Percy Craft Scrapbook is lodged at Penlee House, Penzance and contains many cuttings and photographs relating to the life of the artist.