Percy Shakespeare (1906 - 1943)

View from the artist’s bedroom, mid 1930’s

SKU: 147
Signed, oil on canvas

Height – 52cm x Width – 62cm


The Artist’s Studio

Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, and Paul Liss. Portrait of an Artist. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p.45.

This painting shows a view from the artist’s bedroom, 12 Maple Road, Wren’s Nest, Dudley. Wren’s Nest – a famous geological site (and today a Nature Reserve) near Dudley – was a green oasis in the industrial Black Country. On its slopes Dudley built the first of its council houses. The Shakespeares (Percy was the fourth of eight children) were re-housed to Wren’s Nest in the late 1920s, from the Dudley slums. As a painter he triumphed over the rigors of his environment to become a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy and twice at the Paris Salon. The bedroom, which Percy shared with one of his three brothers, also doubled as his studio and served as the setting for his striking self-portrait, Morning Exercise, 1934.

We are grateful to Robin Shaw for his assistance.

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Percy Shakespeare
1906 - 1943

Shakespeare trained at Dudley Art School and later studied and then taught at Birmingham School of Art. His carefully organised, flatly painted compositions in oils, in which great attention was paid to the outline silhouette of each individual figure, were exhibited at the RA between 1934 and his death in an air raid. He also exhibited at the Paris Salon and the RBSA. In spite of his early demise his oeuvre has undeniable charm – his essentially suburban, and peculiarly English, compositions are drenched with colour and light and despite sometimes appearing to verge on caricature are usually carried off with great panache.

Selected Literature
Robin Shaw, Percy Shakespeare: Dudley’s Painter of the Thirties, published by Robin Shaw (ISBN 0953912604), 2000.

With thanks to