William Russell Flint was a British painter and illustrator. Born in Edinburgh in 1880, Flint began his artistic training at Daniel Stewart’s College in his native city. After completing his initial studies, he worked as an apprentice lithographic draughtsman from 1894 – 1900 whilst studying part-time at the Royal Institute of Art in Edinburgh. Flint moved to London in 1900, where he worked as a medical illustrator for two years whilst studying at Heatherley’s Art School before joining the Illustrated London News where he remained between 1903 to 1907. In the years that followed, Flint produced a number of illustrated editions of classic literature, including The Odyssey and The Canterbury Tales. The artist’s reputation was established when watercolour landscapes of his native Scotland were first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1906. During the First World War, Flint served as a lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves before transferring to the Royal Air Force where he served until 1919. After the War, Flint returned his focus to his artistic career. Landscapes of France, Italy and Spain, first produced in 1921, would come to be considered among Flint’s most popular works due to their representation of local customs.
The artist was associated with Spain in particular, his fascination with female dancers wearing the national dress of the country being frequently depicted in his work. Whether clothed or nude, Flint’s ability to portray the female form was explored repeatedly in oils, tempera and watercolour throughout his long career. In 1933, Flint was made a Royal Academician before being elected President of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1936, a position he held until 1956. He was knighted for his services to art in 1947. The artist died in 1969. His work remains in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, among other collections.