Ernest Eric NewtonErnest Eric Newton (1901 – 1970) was a Royal College of Art trained Painter and Engraver.

Ernest Eric Newton was born in July 1901 at Willesden, North London. He was educated at a local school and having shown great artistic promise studied for some years in the Art Classes at Willesden Polytechnic.

His art was for his own pleasure and, except for some advertising illustrations and a series of London scenes for the Sunday Times he made little attempts to get material gain from his talent, meticulous application and assiduity.

Employed on accounting work for McVitie and Price, he designed a cake for a Royal occasion. The extremely high standard of design and of draughtsmanship attracted the interest of Sir Alexander Grant. The head of this famous firm sent Newton to study full time at the Royal College of Art under Sir William Rothenstein.

His studies at the Royal College completed, the young artist was invited to the Grant home – Logie House in Morayshire by the River Findhorn to make for his sponsor a series of illustrations of the place.

Other work he did here included “Dalchully Bridge”, “The Salmon Leap”, “Findhorn near Logie”, of these a wood engraving “Near Daltullich” was the first of his works to be hung in the Royal Academy at the Summer Exhibition of 1927.

Returning to London, he took employment with a well-known Hat Maker, Tress & Co and in 1940, the Royal Academy exhibited his sensitive and percipient etching – “The Old Hatter”. The Exhibition included “Harmony”– figures by a quiet pool”, and “They Know What They Do” – a stark representation of the crucifixion in a wartime setting.

A successful venture into business on his own account ended with the outbreak of the Second World War and Newton entered into working in a Department of the Civil Service – This was not for him but his attempts when almost 40 years of age to enlist for active service with the Royal Navy met with the Civil Service’s answer that his work was in a category described as “National Importance” from which his release could not be permitted.

HMS StaunchErnest Eric Newton wrote to Sir Winston Churchill personally, but understandably the Prime Minister could not intervene. However in no time he received instructions to report and was enlisted. For six years he served his country in the dangers and discomforts of Minesweeper HMS Staunch in the North Sea and “The Silver Tay”, “Minesweepers” and “Overtime at Caledons” are amongst examples of his work during spells ashore.

Posthumously the Imperial War Museum purchased the two last named along with “They Know Not What They Do”.

Newton’s few portraits include a self-portrait “The Artist with his Mother” and “The Violin Player”. His mostly rural studies range across the country from the Highlands to the South “Midday Polperro” and from “Connemara” to “The Oyster Sheds” of Whitstable. Scotland and Kent were his greatest source of pleasure.

After the War, Newton married Nellie Rolfe in 1949 and settled back in the Civil Service before retiring to Chelsfield overlooking the Kent farmlands. Ernest Eric Newton died in 1970.

“The Cairngorms” (oils), “Achilty”, and “Kirkwall Abbey” (watercolour) are further examples of his (mostly rural) scenes. It was from his intense love of Scotland that he drew much of his inspiration and his deepest pleasure.