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Edward Seago
(1910 — 1974)

Edward Brian Seago was a largely self-taught artist born in Norwich in 1910. His works have been defined as Impressionist or post-Impressionist. Due to a heart condition he had little formal education but he nonetheless determined to be an artist and, from the age of thirteen, he received some training from Bertram Priestman. The following year he won an award from the Royal Drawing Society. He was influenced by artists such John Crome, Alfred Munnings and John Constable. Like Constable, he made many studies of the sky as he was often bedbound due to his illness. In 1928 he started touring England, Ireland and France with a travelling circus and, during this time, completed various illustrations of circus scenes. He also collaborated with the poet laureate John Masefield on collections of poems and paintings. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he concealed his heart problems in order to join the army where he became a camouflage officer. He was invalidated in 1944 but stayed with the army to paint wartime scenes during the final stages of the campaign in Italy which culminated in a book and an exhibition of the paintings in London. He settled in Norfolk following the war but travelled extensively on a boat which he equipped as a studio, to paint in France, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. He also travelled further afield to Greece, Burma, Bangkok, Morocco and Turkey. He painted prolifically but, despite his immense popular appeal, received little critical acclaim.


Seago produced many paintings for the Royal family. He was one of the artists chosen to paint the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1952 and, four years later, he accompanied Prince Philip on a trip to Antartica where he completed sixty Antartic paintings, which now hang at Balmoral. He painted portraits of George VI, Princess Margaret and Prince Philip, as well as well-known personalities such as Noël Coward and Michael Denison. He also created the silver sculpture of St George slaying the Dragon which serves as the mascot of any state limousine in which Queen Elizabeth II travels. Seago was elected to the Royal Society of British Artists in 1946 and he was made an associate of the Royal Society of Watercolours in 1957, becoming a member in 1959.