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, as he was known, was educated at Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk before studying at Heatherley School of Fine 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, Bures St Mary, Cornard, Sudbury, Suffolk where they were living in 1921 with their three children, Ruth Jane born at Stalham, Norfolk in 1914, John Bernard born at Peterborough in 1917 and newly born Juliet Berry born at Cornard and he returned to painting. In 1922 he exhibited with the Stour Valley Group two works 'The Decline and Fall of the Waggon' and 'The Blue Waggon, Little Cornard', but 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 he took a teaching post at the Wellington Technical College in New Zealand but in 1932 he 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 was an artist living at St Johns Studio, Harley Road, Hampstead with his wife Agnes and 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 Royal Academy; London Salon; the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the Royal Institute of Oil 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'. Edward Christopher Perkins died at his then home 7 Dalton Road, Ipswich on 8 April 1968. He published an essay 'On Museums' (1925).

Royal Academy Exhibits
from c/o Green and Stone, Arthur Street, Chelsea
1936 Miss Ann Casson
from 45 Fitzjohn Avenue, Northwest London
1937 Lisseweghe, Flanders
from Belle Vue, The Green, Southwold, Suffolk
1940 180 Potato Fields
from Crostwight, Chiswick Mall, West London
1944 441 Turkeys
         499 Lincolnshire
1947 225 Floods
         259 Loading Potatoes

Works by This Artist