Harry Epworth Allen

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Harry Epworth Allen (27 November 1894 – 25 March 1958)[1] was an English painter. He was one of the twentieth century's most distinctive interpreters of landscape.

Early life[edit]

H. E. Allen was born at 20, Kirkstall Road, in the Hunter's Bar district of Sheffield, England.[2] The city would remain his home for the rest of his life. His father was Henry Allen, a steel mark maker, and his mother Elizabeth Epworth Allen (née Blacktin). Epworth was the maiden name of Elizabeth's mother, who was also called Elizabeth.

Allen showed remarkable artistic talent from an early age and in 1902 won third prize for pen and ink drawing in an art studentship competition run by the Sheffield Weekly Independent. Between 1907 and 1911 he attended the King Edward VII School in Sheffield, where he obtained a Lower School Certificate Prize for his class distinctions in Arithmetic, Scripture and English.

In 1911 he began work as a clerk in the steel works owned by Arthur Balfour and in 1912 he enrolled at the Sheffield Technical School of Art.

War service[edit]

In 1915 Allen enlisted with the Royal Garrison Artillery of the Regular Army and in June 1916 was posted to the British Expeditionary Force to France. He worked as assistant to the observation officer, sketching enemy equipment and locations in the field. In August 1916 he was moved to the front line.

In 1917 he was awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous gallantry. He was badly wounded. His school magazine for 1917 recorded his experience:

"Private H.E.Allen (R.G.A.) has been awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous gallantry under heavy shell fire on January 25th 1917. He was an assistant to the observation officer, and had many exciting times in this post. Under heavy shelling of the enemy, he found his officer completely buried in the dug-out, and, though under heavy fire, tried to extricate him. A shell falling within a yard of him buried and bruised him, but he managed to get free and obtain further assistance and save the officer's life. Unfortunately, Allen himself was badly wounded in both legs and lies in hospital in France."

One leg had to be amputated above the knee, while the other leg was seriously injured by shrapnel.[3]

Artistic career[edit]

In 1915 Allen enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery in the British Army and soon after was posted to France with the British Expeditionary Force where he sketched enemy troop locations and equipment in the field. He was awarded the Military Medal in 1917, and a year later was discharged from the Army on medical grounds having lost a leg.[4] He was involved in a number of art societies in the 20's and was a pupil of Frank Saltfleet.

He was a member of a number of art societies including Sheffield Society of Artists, Hallamshire Sketch Club- from 1932 known as the Hallamshire Art Society, Heeley Art Club, and later the Pastel Society 1952. He exhibited at The Royal Academy over 23 years from 1933, and he had 39 works accepted by them. He was prolific as an artist working from the 1920 up until his death in 1958.

On 16 May 1925 he married Lucy Hodder at Holy Trinity Church, Millbrook, Southampton.[5] They took their honeymoon in Corfe in Dorset. In 1931 Allen was made redundant and became a professional painter. After the death of Allen's father in 1932, the couple went to live with his mother, Elizabeth Epworth Blacktin. Allen died on 25 March 1958, at home, at 67 Banner Cross Road, from a coronary thrombosis.[6]

Paintings[edit]

Allen was recognised as one of the Yorkshire Artists group. His style is often regarded as surreal.

Allen's paintings are held in the art collections of a number of British institutions including Sheffield Museums, Derby Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield and the British Museum.[7]

In April 2013, two of Allens' paintings, dating from 1942 and 1943, of scenes in Achill Island, County Mayo, were featured on BBC One's Antiques Roadshow. The works, which were executed in egg tempera, were valued at £6,000 - £7,000 each.[8]

Selected Works[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Batsford, J. (2005) - facsimile of birth certificate, p. 186
  2. ^ Batsford, J. (2005) - facsimile of birth certificate, p. 186
  3. ^ Batsford, J. (2005), p.6
  4. ^ Harry Epworth Allen Foundation, accessed August 2011
  5. ^ Batsford, J. (2005) - facsimile of marriage certificate, p. 187
  6. ^ Batsford, J. (2005) - facsimile of death certificate, p. 188
  7. ^ Harry Epworth Allen, BBC, accessed August 2011
  8. ^ "Antiques Roadshow - Series 35 - 20: Castle Coole 2". bbc.co.uk. 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]