Cecil Charles Windsor Aldin (28 April 1870 – 6 January 1935) was a British artist and illustrator best known for his paintings and sketches of animals, sports, and rural life.
Life and work
Born in Slough, he was educated at Eastbourne College and Solihull Grammar School. He studied anatomy at South Kensington and animal painting under William Frank Calderon. He lived at The Abbots, Sulhamstead Abbots from 1913 to 1914 and was church warden of St Mary's church.
Early influences included Randolph Caldecott and John Leech. His drawings first made their way into print in The Building News of 12 September 1890, and began to appear throughout many popular journals and magazines; his work was published in The Graphic in 1891.
His illustrations include two of the original 1894 magazine publications of stories from Rudyard Kipling's The Second Jungle Book, the 1910 edition of Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers and The Bunch Book (1932, about Bunch, a Sealyham Terrier) by James Douglas. He also published a short series of fully illustrated books in 1923, Old Manor Houses and Old Inns.
His village scenes and rural buildings were executed in chalk, pencil and wash sketching was used for country scenes. Aldin was an enthusiastic sportsman and a Master of Fox Hounds and many of his pictures illustrated hunting.
A popular book by Aldin was Sleeping Partners, a sequence of pastel drawings of his dogs on a couch. It included his Irish Wolfhound Micky and his favourite model, Cracker, a Bull Terrier with a dark patch over one eye.
He also did some work for Cadburys advertising.
Born 28 April 1870. He was educated at Eastbourne College then Solihull Grammar School. Cecil Aldin's father was a keen amateur artist so Cecil started drawing at a very young age. He studied art at the studio of Albert Moore and then the National Art Training School which later became The Royal College of Art. After this he spent a summer with the fine animal painter and teacher, Frank Calderon. In 1892 he bombarded the illustrated periodicals with his illustrations and thereby started a long association with The Illustrated London News. He was commissioned by The Pall Mall Budget in 1894 to illustrate "The Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling. At the invitation of the fine genre painter, Walter Dendy Sadler he stayed at Chiddingstone where he made close friends with Phil May, John Hassall and Lance Thackeray and along with them, Dudley Hardy and Tom Browne they founded the London Sketch Club. The birth of his son and daughter inspired his nursery pictures which together with his large sets of the Fallowfield Hunt, Bluemarket Races, Harefield Harriers and Cottesbrook Hunt prints brought him much popularity. This was enhanced by his ever expanding book and magazine illustrative work. An exhibition in Paris in 1909 was received with much acclaim and extended his fame to a wider audience. Aldin moved to the Henley area as his interest in hunting, horses and dogs increased and in 1910 he became Master of the South Berkshire Hunt as well as being associated with other local packs. During the First World War Cecil Aldin was in charge of an Army Remount Depot where he befriended Lionel Edwards, Alfred Munnings and G.D. Armour. Sadly he lost his son, Dudley at Vimy Ridge in 1917, which affected him deeply for many years and had a profound effect of his style of work. After the war Aldin spent much of his time organising pony and dog shows particularly in Exmoor where he followed the Devon and Somerset Staghounds. In the 1920?s he added further prints of hunting scenes to create a series of "The Hunting Countries" as well as concentrating on his ever popular studies of his own and ?visiting? dogs. He also produced a series of prints depicting Old Inns, Old Manor Houses and Cathedrals. In 1930 Cecil Aldin had to go and live in a warmer climate due to serious attacks of arthritis but he continued to paint and etch, producing some of his best work. He died in London of a heart attack in January 1935 on a short trip back home.
- Kelly's Directory
- Bryant, Sonia. "Cecil Aldin". Stella & Rose's Books. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- "The Life and Sleeping Partners of Cecil Aldin (1870–1935) « Vulpes Libris". WordPress.com. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- Cecil Aldin biography (Jonathan Poole Gallery)
Books illustrated by Aldin (selected):
- The Cecil Aldin hunting diary (1900)
- Heiberg, Neils. White-ear and Peter: the story of a fox and a fox-terrier (London: Macmillan, 1912).
- Byron, May. Cecil Aldin's merry party (London: Henry Frowde, Hodder and Stoughton, 1913).
- Maeterlinck, Maurice. My Dog (London: G. Allen, 1913).
- Waylett, Richard. The Doggie Book (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., ).
- Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty: the autobiography of a horse (London: Boots the Chemists, 1916).
- Emanuel, Walter Lewis. A dog day; or, The angel in the house (New York: E. P. Dutton & co., 1919).
- Aldin, C. Old Inns (London: Heinemann, 1921)
- Aldin, C. Old manor houses (London: W. Heinemann, 1920).
- Hare, Kenneth. Roads and vagabonds (London Eyre & Spottiswoode).
- Aldin, C. Time I Was Dead: Pages from My Autobiography (C. Scribner's sons, 1934)
- Heron, Roy. Cecil Aldin, the Story of a Sporting Artist (Henry Holt & Company, 1982)
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- My favourite artist - Cecil Aldin (Sundial Antiques)
- More info on Cecil Aldin can be found at Victoria Galley