PERKINS, Christopher Edward

1891 - 1968

Christopher Perkins

As Edward Christopher Perkins, he was born at Park Road, Peterborough on 21 September 1891, second son of John Edward Sharman Perkins (11 December 1859-26 June 1942), a mechanical engineer, and his wife Margaret Charlotte Long (22 November 1860-3 July 1956), younger daughter of Robert Long, who married at Upper Stondon, Bedfordshire on 16 May 1888. Christopher was educated at Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk before studying at Heatherley's School of Art, spending 1908 in Rome, then attended Slade School of Fine Art. He married at St Pancras, London on 1 April 1914, Agnes Berry Shaw (26 May 1888-6 June 1969) by which time he had commenced his career as a landscape and portrait painter but, in the same year, joined the British army for the duration of the First World War, rising to the rank of acting captain. On demobilisation they came to live at The Sawyers, Great Cornard, Sudbury, Suffolk and he returned to painting, but during a time in the mid 1920s, he and his family lived in France and in 1925, although recommended by Roger Fry (1866-1934) and William Rothenstein (1872-1945), failed to obtain a teaching position in Cape Town. Living at Crostwight, Chiswick Mall, London, in 1927 he held a major, but unsuccessful, exhibition in London. In January 1929 took a teaching post at the Wellington Technical College in New Zealand but in 1932 he let allowed his contract lapse when he moved to Rotorua, where the availability of Maori subjects was an attraction. He exhibited regularly with the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts 1929-1933 then held a substantial exhibition in Sydney, Australia, his works included 'Silverstream Brickworks' (1930), 'Taranaki' (1931), 'Activity on the Wharf' (1931), 'Meditation' (1931) and 'Haka, Maori Meeting' (193234). In February 1934 Perkins returned to England and in 1939 an artist living at St Johns Studio, Harley Road, Hampstead with his wife Agnes. During the Second World War he again served in the army working as an unofficial war artist. He achieved a reputation as a portrait painter, showing pictures at the London Salon; the Royal Society of Portrait Painters; the Royal Academy and the Royal Institute of Painters 1914-1940, from London 1914 and 1937, Sudbury, Suffolk 1919, St Aubin, Jersey 1929 and Southwold, Suffolk in 1940, where he had purchased a cottage at the bottom of South Green (now called Bolt Hole) but he never attained the leading position that he had had in New Zealand. He also exhibited at the Bury St Edmund's Art Society from Sudbury in 1948 an oil, 'The Potato Harvest in Holland'. He died at his then home 7 Dalton Road, Ipswich on 8 April 1968. He had three children including Juliet Berry Laden [q.v.]. He published an essay 'On Museums' (1925).

Works by This Artist