RANDOLPH SCHWABE, RWS, NEAC
The Abbey Church, Cerne Abbas
Signed, inscribed Cerne Abbas and dated 1939
Pen and ink and watercolour over traces of pencil
32 by 28.5 cm., 12 ½ by 11 ¼ in.
(frame size 52.5 by 47.5 cm., 20 ¾ by 18 ¾ in.)
Randolph Schwabe was born in Eccles, Manchester, the son of a German born cotton merchant. He initially studied at the Royal College of Art but after a short time transferred to the Slade. In 1904 he won the Slade Scholarship and in 1905 won the college Summer Competition. In 1906, a Slade scholarship allowed him to study at the Academie Julian, Paris before travelling to Italy. Unable to enlist due to poor health he was an official War Artist during World War I. After the war he initially worked as a theatrical designer and book illustrator he began teaching at Camberwell and Westminster Schools of Art. He was then drawing master at the Royal College of Art before succeeding Henry Tonks as Slade Professor and head of the Slade School of Art in 1930. In 1941 he joined the committee of the War Artists’ Advisory Committee. Schwabe was a prolific exhibitor at the New English Art Club and Goupil Gallery, also showing at Carfax Gallery, Fine Art Society, Leicester Galleries and Royal Watercolour Society. Examples of his work are in the collections of the Tate Gallery, Imperial War Museum and elsewhere.
Cerne Abbas, Dorset was a favourite holiday retreat for Schwabe and his family and friends. In the summer of 1939 they stayed at Abbey Farm where they had also spent the previous summer. War broke out during their stay and in his diaries he recorded the arrival of 150 evacuated children into the village.