1908 - 1993

George Chapman

Kenneth George Chapman was born at East Ham, London on 1 October 1908, third child of William Chapman, a Superintendent on the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, and his wife Jane. He was educated at Shebbears College in Devon, but his profound deafness hindered his education, but in 1924 he studied at Gravesend School of Art. He then trained as a commercial designer under Ashley Havinden (1903-1973) by joining Crawford's in 1928. In the 1930s, he worked on numerous advertising campaigns for Jack Beddington (1893-1959) at Shell-Mex also working alongside Sutherland, Nash, Piper, Freedman, and Betjamen for London Transport. In 1937 he gave up this successful career to become a painter, firstly as a student at the Slade School of Fine Art but, after a year, was persuaded by his friend Barnett Freedman (1901-1958) to transfer to the Royal College of Art, studying painting under Gilbert Spencer (1892-1979). His deafness exempted him from active service and during the Second World War he taught at Worcester School of Art, returning to advertising in 1945, again working for Jack Beddington by then with Colman, Prentis, and Varley. In 1951, together with his second wife Kate, whom he had met on a visit to Norwich School of Art, they moved to Vine Cottage, Great Bardfield, Essex during which time he taught graphic design at the London College of Printing, Central School of Arts and Crafts, and Colchester School of Art. At Great Bardfield, George took an active part in the thriving artistic community that included Edward Bawden and his wife Charlotte (1902-1970), Michael Rothenstein (1908-1993) and his wife Duffy [Ayres] (1915-2017), John Aldridge (1905-1983), Bernard Cheese, Kenneth Rowntree (1915-1997) and Marianne Straub (1909-1994). In 1953 Chapman rented a studio in the Rhondda Valley in Wales and had his first one-man show in London at the Piccadilly Gallery in 1956, and George Chapman's pictures of the Rhondda are a record of a particular place and time. In 1960 St George's Gallery Prints published the Rhondda Suite of etchings of the industrial landscape of Wales. In 1969, giving up painting, he moved to Aberaeron but returned to the Rhondda in 1980, and with a commission for a new painting, worked with renewed confidence resulting in a one-man show at the Reynolds Gallery, Plymouth in 1981 and he exhibited at the Ipswich Art Club in 1980 'Seated Pregnant Nude'. He married firstly at Westminster in 1938, Dorothy May Codling, and had one son, the marriage was dissolved in 1943 and secondly at Norwich in 1947, Kathleen Ablett and had two further sons and a daughter. Kenneth George Chapman died at his home near Aberaeron on 28 October 1993 being survived by his wife Kate and his four children.

Royal Academy Exhibits
from Crown House, Great Bardfield, Essex
1957 429 Going to Work
1958 260 Home from Work
1959 288 Gossip in the Rhondda
         492 Waiting for a Bus
from Anne Lowe's Cottage, Aberaeron, Cardiganshire
1960 510 Pollarded Trees
         675 Going out to Shop
from Moat House, Hethel, Norwich
1961 394 The Playground
         412 Evening at Pontypridd
         437 God Save the Queen
1962 230 Rain
         300 Houses across the Valley
1964 469 Across the Valley
from Pier Cottage, Aberaeron, Cardiganshire
1966 659 The Pit Head
         660 Lunch Time
1967 612 Church at Bolton
         616 Church on a Hill
         924 Street in Dowlais
1968 748 Rhondda Fach
         907 Near Aberdare
from The Mill, Water Street, Aberaeron, Dyfed
1982 1081 Across the Valley

Works by This Artist