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Anna Zinkeisen
(1901 — 1976)

Anna Zinkeisen was a Scottish artist primarily known for her work as a portrait painter and muralist. The daughter of a timber merchant, Zinkeisen was born in Kilcreggan in 1901 before the family relocated to Middlesex during her childhood. She attended the Harrow School of Art, and later studied at the Royal Academy Schools on a scholarship where she specialised in sculpture. For a brief time following this, Zinkeisen worked as a ceramicist. She received commissions for her designs from the renowned Wedgwood pottery company, where her plaque designs were awarded the silver medal at the Exposition des Art Decoratifs, Paris in 1925. Despite such success with her ceramic designs, Zinkeisen later changed the focus of her artistic direction, deciding to specialise in traditional portraits and expansive mural work. With her sister, also an artist, she contributed many murals of richly decorated circus and theatre scenes to the ocean liner RMS Queen Mary in 1935, which may still be seen on the ship to this day. In the years that followed, Zinkeisen began to explore other artistic formats throughout her work for book illustrations, magazine covers, and popular London Transport (later TFL) posters. Her work as a mural artist continued later in her career, when in 1940 she was commissioned alongside her sister to paint murals for the ocean liner RMS Queen Elizabeth.

 

During World War II, Zinkeisen served with the Order of St John at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington where she nursed air raid victims. It was during this time that she began sketching and later painting subjects from her hospital experiences. She became skilled in the art of anatomical drawing, and provided many series of excellent pathological and clinical drawings of war injuries for the Royal College of Surgeons. Though returning to portrait painting after the war, Zinkeisen continued her support of the medical profession in the creation of two portraits for St John Ambulance in the 1950s, which were used in publicity campaigns. Her portrait of noted plastic surgeon Sir Archibald Hector McIndoe hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, along with an enigmatic self-portrait of the artist, further cementing her legacy as an artist with admirable range and noted skill in capturing the essence of her subjects. The artist died in 1976.