Born in Chelsea on 12 March 1888, Eric Henri Kennington was the son of the painter T B Kennington. He studied at Lambeth School of Art from 1905 to 1907, followed by the City and Guilds School in Kensington. From 1908 he exhibited at the Royal Academy and Leicester Galleries. He served in the army in France in the First World War, until invalided out in June 1915. Kennington returned to the front in 1916 as an official war artist. He regarded himself chiefly as a sculptor, rendering a number of memorials, including one to his friend T E Lawrence, but also drew many pastel portraits and lithographs. In 1922 he married Edith Cecil, with whom he had a son and a daughter.

Kennington again became an official war artist during the Second World War, personally commissioned to do work for the MOI by Embleton, Edwin. Darracott and Loftus describe how in both wars ‘his drawings and letters show him to be an admirer of the heroism of ordinary men and women’, an admiration which can be particularly seen in the poster series ‘Seeing it Through’.

Information taken from: Darracott, J. and Loftus, B., Second World War Posters, 1981 (1972), p.41, Questionnaire submitted by Royall, K. to Embleton, E., Royall, K., ‘Posters of the Second World War: The Fourth Arm of British Defence’, Unpublished M.A., University of Westminster, 1991, p.123

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