Kenneth Rowntree
1915 - 1997

Rowntree trained at the Ruskin School of Drawing in Oxford, and then at the Slade in London. In 1939 he married the architect Diana Buckley. They associated with many of the modernist emigr architects in London at that time, and a strong architectural sense can often be felt in Rowntree's work. He was a Quaker, and during the war became part of the 'Recording Britain' project, in which everyday life in wartime Britain was captured by a range of artists. When Diana became pregnant in 1941 they wished to move out of London, and Eric and Tirzah Ravilious found them a suitable house in Great Bardfield, close to the Bawdens' home. Local churches provided a strong inspiration for much of his work here, but he also worked in London, Kent and Wales. He taught at the Royal College of Art from 1949, and his extensive output included paintings, murals, book design, posters, magazines and advertising. In 1959 he became Professor of Fine Art at Durham University at Newcastle, then a particularly fertile centre for contemporary British art. Although he later retired in Northumberland, Essex was always one of the areas important to his work.