Stanley Roy Badmin Painting Britain in the 1930’s
A prolific landscape watercolourist, etcher and lithographer, Stanley Roy Badmin studied at the Camberwell School of Art and the Royal College of Art. After graduating in 1928, he began to establish a reputation for his landscape watercolours and etchings, and earned his first one-man exhibition at the Twenty One Gallery in London in 1930.
In 1931 he was elected to the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers, and the following year, at the age of twenty-six, became one of the youngest Associate members of the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolours. At the exhibition of the Society in April 1932, the first to which he contributed, Badmin’s work was singled out for particular praise by several reviewers, one of whom noted that ‘The most interesting drawings in this show are provided by S.R. Badmin, a young etcher who uses line with almost an etcher’s delicacy and precision.
Badmin is almost miniaturist in the fineness of his work he packs into a small picture area, but in spite of all this wealth of beautifully designed detail, he contrives, with the aid of washes of tender colour, to preserve a seemly order in all his drawings.’
Working from a studio in Clapham Common, Badmin enjoyed a second successful London gallery exhibition in 1933, this time at the Fine Art Society. A review of the exhibition noted of Badmin that ‘the most wonderful thing about his work is that, while he is scrupulous – but not over-scrupulous – in his precise drawing of minute detail, he contrives to combine this quality with breadth and simplicity of effect.’ In 1935 Badmin received a commission from Fortune magazine for a series of illustrations of American views, and spent several weeks travelling in America and Canada, visiting New York, Williamsburg, Philadelphia, Quebec and a farm in Illinois; his American water colours were exhibited in New York in 1936.
Badmin is best known for his watercolour landscapes; charming and affectionate depictions of the English countryside. As one recent author has noted of Badmin, ‘his craft has been based on hard work and experience, and his talent on a love for and deep knowledge of the British countryside.’ In the 1940’s and 1950’s he illustrated a number of books on pastoral or topographical themes, notably Village and Town and Trees in Britain, published in 1939 and 1942 respectively, and The British Countryside in Colour, which appeared in 1951.
Badmin also contributed to the Shell Guide to Trees and Shrubs, published in 1958. Among his other commercial projects were designs for Shell posters depicting the various counties of England, as well as covers and illustrations for Reader’s Digest and Radio Times magazines, advertising images, calendars, and designs for over a hundred greeting cards. In 1959 Badmin and his family moved from London to Bignor, near Pulborough in West Sussex, where he lived for the rest of his career. In 1984 a small exhibition of his work was held at the Royal Watercolour Society. Several watercolours and prints by Badmin are today in the collections of the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Badmin produced a handful of views of the picturesque fishing port and seaside resort of St. Ives in Cornwall. Another watercolour view of the town, inscribed by the artist ‘A Corner of St. Ives’ and ‘The Room with the View’, was on the London art market in 1985, while a view of St. Ives from Porthminster was exhibited at the Autumn 1953 exhibition of the Royal Watercolour Society.