Percy Shakespeare (1906 -1943) "Dudley's Painter"
Shakespeare, a very talented artist, was one of Dudley’s most famous
artistic sons. In a short life he overcame many disadvantages to carve
out a career as a painter. By cruel fate he was killed in 1943 when he
was only 37. He had already become a regular exhibitor at the Royal
Academy and had a picture accepted by the Paris Salon. As a painter he
was just getting into his stride.
artist studied at Dudley School of Art and rose from humble beginnings
to become the most celebrated artist Dudley has produced in the last 100
years. Dudley Museum used to house the Dudley School of Art where
Shakespeare began his love affair with art. Dudley Museums Service owns a
number of pictures by him.
the 1930s Percy embarked on a series of oil paintings showing groups of
people at leisure. These compositions were the result of intense work
with many preliminary drawings of the component figures. The drawings
themselves are of considerable merit in their own right. He painted one
or two of these compositions each year and submitted them to the Royal
Academy. Often they were accepted. They are remarkable in their colour
and figure arrangements and together they capture the spirit of the
Thirties. He subsisted on a few hours teaching a week. He had no studio
and often painted in his
small bedroom in the
family council house on the Wren’s Nest. When the Second World War broke
out Percy continued to paint with even more determination. Even after
he was called up for the navy he painted. He was doing special work in a
naval shore establishment at Roedean School near Brighton. He went for a
walk alone on the cliffs and there where he thought himself safe he was
blown to pieces
by a stray German bomb.
left behind many figure drawings, portraits in oil, and his ‘Thirties
at Leisure’ compositions. Poignantly, his best works were still unsold.
He should have had even better painting years ahead of him. He had
already achieved much but what else might he have gone on to accomplish?
For more information on Percy Shakespeare please see the document attached below.
Access to the Percy Shakespeare Collection
is now a permanent exhibition of Percy Shakespeare's work in Dudley
Museum and Art Gallery. However the majority of the art collection is
kept in store, except when being used for a specific exhibition. If you
wish to see a particular picture, it is advisable to contact the Museum
before your visit and the staff will be able to tell you whether the
picture is on display or not. If the picture is not on display and you
wish to view it, the staff will give you details about how to make an
View the Collections Online
Black Country History
is a searchable website which allows users to find information about
documents, maps, photographs, art works, objects and more held by
archives and museums services within the Black Country. Dudley Museums
Service are a partner involved in the website and consequently details
of the objects held in our collections are available on the site.
Please use Black Country History to discover more about the objects and documents relating to Percy Shakespeare that are cared for by Dudley Museum & Art Gallery.