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Ruskin Spear
(1911 — 1990)

Ruskin Spear was a British painter. Born in Hammersmith in 1911, Spear began his artistic education at the Hammersmith School of Art between the years 1926 – 1930 before enrolling at the Royal College of Art where he remained until 1934. Spear initially came to prominence as a landscape painter, recording the lives of those around him in his native Hammersmith with great skill and character. During the Second World War, Spear was commissioned by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee to record the events and effects of the war in London. He later participated in the Recording Britain scheme between the years 1940 – 1945, set up to employ the foremost watercolour painters of the time in recording and preserving the rich cultural history and natural beauty of Britain.


Spear was a skilled painter, completing both landscape and portrait commissions with distinct photojournalistic qualities. The artist became a member of the London group in 1942, which he would later serve as President for a year from 1949. He participated in several significant group shows alongside his contemporaries, and exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy throughout his life. Spear enjoyed a very successful career as both an artist and an educator. He began teaching at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London in 1945, before accepting a position at the Royal College of Art where he remained between the years 1948 – 1977. In 1979, Spear was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). The artist died in 1990. His work remains in a number of collections throughout Britain, including that of the Tate in London.