William Russell Flint

Scottish painter, printmaker and illustrator (1880 - 1969) specialised in landscapes and figure paintings

The son of Francis Wighton Flint (1850/51 - 1902), a graphic designer and watercolourist, William Russell Flint received his initial artistic training as a lithographer and designer with banks & Co. in Edinburgh for six years from 1894. He settled in London in 1900, where he initially worked as a medical illustrator, while studying part-time at Heatherley's Art School. Flint worked as an illustrator for the 'Illustrated London News' between 1903 and 1907, and it was in this field that he first established a reputation with his illustrations for Henry Rider Haggard's 'King Solomon's Mines', published by Cassell & Co. in 1907.

After he married the artist Sibylle Sueter, Flint made the first of many visits to Italy, where he settled in Rome in 1912, taking a studio in the Villa Strohl-Fern, the centre of much lively artistic life. The cityscapes and architecture of Italy provided him with regular subject-matter for his watercolours for the rest of his career.

Flint's immense artistic facility was recognised by election as an associate of the Royal Society of Painters in Water-Colours in 1914, and as a full member in 1919. He was president of the society from 1936 to 1956. Flint was also elected a member of the Royal Academy in 1933, and was awarded the rare distinction of a lifetime retrospective in 1962. Flint's accomplishments as an etcher, in a style deriving from Whistler, led to his election as a member of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1933, and he was awarded a sliver medal at the 1913 Paris Salon for his illustrations to Mallory's 'Morte d'Arthur', published in four volumes in 1910-11 by P.L. Warner. His Work was extremely popular and was finally recognised by the grant of a knighthood in 1947.

Flint's watercolours of partially dressed or nude, lissom and curvaceous girls were widely collected and much reproduced in the contemporary journals, and sold in large editions in high quality photographically reproduced prints. Today he is better known for this part of his oeuvre, for which the models were frequently Spanish or gypsy girls, than for his oils and topographical watercolours. Flint was noted for his use of antique paper, which enhanced the qualities of his subtle but very free washes. His watercolours are generally notable for the vibrancy of their light.
  • Gender
  • Relationship
    Previous owner
  • Nationality
    British: Scottish
  • Born
  • Place of birth
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: Midlothian: Edinburgh
  • Died
  • Place of death
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England: London: City of Westminster: Paddington
  • Cause of death
    Unknown or unrecorded
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