Eric Kennington 1888-1960

Kennington first exhibited at the Royal Academy 1908. At the start of World War I, Kennington enlisted with the 13th (Kensington) Battalion London Regiment. He fought on the Western Front, but was wounded and discharged as unfit in June 1915. During his convalescence, he produced “The Kensingtons at Laventie, Winter 1914”, a portrait of a group of infantrymen. When exhibited in the spring of 1916, its portrayal of exhausted soldiers caused a sensation. The painting is now in the Imperial War Museum. Kennington returned to the front in 1917 as an official war artist.

Kennington regarded himself chiefly as a sculptor, creating a number of memorials, including one to his friend T.E. Lawrence. He produced the illustrations for Lawrence’s The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Kennington also created many pastel portraits and lithographs. His work as a sculptor includes the War Memorial to the 24th Division in Battersea Park 1924, and allegorical reliefs on the Shakespear Memorial Theatre, Stratford on Avon, 1930.

Kennington again became an official war artist during the World War II, personally commissioned to do work for the Ministry of Information by Edwin Embleton. Darracott and Loftus describe how in both wars “his drawings and letters show him to be an admirer of the heroism of ordinary men and women”, an admiration which is particularly notable in the poster series “Seeing it Through”. His last work, which was completed on his death by his assistant Eric Stanford, was a stone relief panel that decorates the James Watt South Building in the University of Glasgow. Kennington is buried in the churchyard in Checkendon, Oxfordshire, where he was churchwarden and is commemorated on a memorial in Brompton Cemetery, London.... read more

Eric Kennington Prints

Making Soldiers: The Great War

Eric Kennington: Making Soldiers: The Great War, c.1917