Harry Eccleston

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
H N Eccleston

Born(1923-01-21)21 January 1923
Died30 April 2010(2010-04-30) (aged 87)
Upminster, Essex, England
EducationBilston School of Art
Alma mater
  • Artist
  • Illustrator
OrganizationBank of England
Known forDesigning banknotes

Harry Norman Eccleston, OBE (21 January 1923—30 April 2010) was an artist from Coseley, West Midlands, England.[1] He was the first full-time artist and designer of banknotes at the Bank of England.[2]


He trained at Bilston School of Art, and in 1939, Birmingham College of Art, then later, after Royal Navy service in World War II,[2] at the Royal College of Art.[1] Although he lived in London, Eccleston interest in his native Black Country continued throughout his life as produced paintings and etchings of the industrial landscape.[3] Eccleston made a number of drawings and studies of the people of the Black Country and the steelworks that he had been exposed to in his childhood. As a perfectionist his drawing are precise and mathematical, making him "one of the finest engravers of his day." [4]

Banknote design[edit]

He joined the Bank of England in 1958 as their first in-house artist-designer, and was the designer of the "D" series of British banknotes — the first pictorial notes. They all featured Queen Elizabeth II, as well as Isaac Newton (£1), the Duke of Wellington (£5), Florence Nightingale (£10), William Shakespeare (£20) and Christopher Wren (£50). The notes were issued in 1970 and in use until 1981.[2] He retired from the Bank of England in 1983.[5]


He was made Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1979.[2][5] In 2003 he was given an honorary doctorate of arts, by the University of Wolverhampton, for his services to banknote design and printmaking.[2] He was elected as a member of the Royal West of England Academy and as an Honorary Member of the RBSA.

Art works[edit]

Examples of Harry Eccleston's work are held in a number of public collections, including the Black Country Living Museum[6] and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.[7]


  1. ^ a b The Independent
  2. ^ a b c d e The Guardian - obituary
  3. ^ The Free Library
  4. ^ Brendan Flynn, A Place For Art (Liverpool: Callprint, Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, 2014)
  5. ^ a b Bank of England Archived 2011-03-10 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ 2 paintings by or after Harry Eccleston, Art UK. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  7. ^ Grimley, Terry (September 2005). "An artist of great note". Birmingham Post. Trinity Mirror Midlands. Retrieved 3 April 2013.