George Chapman

This is a post about George Chapman just before he moved to Wales.

Kenneth ‘George’ Chapman was born in East Ham, London, the son of a superintendent on the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. He studied at Gravesend School of Art, and worked as a graphic designer before deciding to become a full time artist in 1937.

Chapman was one of the young artists picked out by Jack Beddington to work on a Shell poster, giving him a public profile alongside Graham Sutherland, Paul Nash and John Armstrong. At this time he was signing his work K G Chapman.

George Chapman – Tudor Tower, Pentlow. For Shell.

Chapman studied at the Slade for a year before Barnett Freedman recommended the painting school under Gilbert Spencer at the Royal College of Art, as the classes were freer from academic history at the RCA and also it was a college supported by the government, for artists to enter industry. Chapman then taught at the Worcester School of Art. He moved to Norwich in 1945 and married Kate Ablett, a student at Norwich School of Art, in 1947.

They moved to Great Bardfield in 1951 and lived in Vine Cottage and then moved to Crown House. Bawden cycled over to introduce himself and welcome them to the village. Chapman’s paintings, shown in the 1954 exhibitions, were of Welsh valleys and terraced mining towns; a contrast to the countryside around him. These early works were more expressionist, in the style of Robert Colquhoun, Keith Vaughan and other young artists.

George Chapman – Welsh Farmyard I (Gors Fach, Pennant), 1953
Inexpensive Progress
George Chapman – Welsh Farmyard II (Gors Fach, Pennant), 1953
Private Collection
George Chapman – The Threshing Machine, 1953
Fry Art Gallery
George Chapman – The Water Bowser, 1953
Fry Art Gallery

Later he settled into a darker style of printing and etchings in dark colours, in a mood of art at the time that artists like L S Lowry were taking up. A social realism. He stuck to this style for the rest of his life.

George Chapman -Terrace House, 1959
Inexpensive Progress