Edward Roworth

Born: 1880,Lancashire, UK. Died: 1964, Somerset West, South Africa Edward Roworth was born in Lancashire, England in 1880 and came to South Africa in 1902 with the British forces during the Anglo-Boer War. Edward Roworth studied art under Tom Wostyn at Heaton, near Manchester as well as a some classes under Sir Hubert Herkomer at Bushey. He also studied at Slade School under Henry Tonks. After the war he settled in Cape Town, where he established a teaching studio and became active in art- circles. He set about doing distinctly South African landscapes and also joined the South African Society of Artists. He became the centre of controversy through public expression of his forthright attitudes. He was highly respected for his portrait work and therefore important commissions came his way. He was also the President of the South African Society of Artists on 3 occasions. His most significant commission was the task of painting the National Convention in 1909. It hung in Buckingham Palace before being installed in the House of Assembly, Cape Town.
 Artist CV 
Studies
Under Tom Wostyn at Heaton, near Manchester; some classes under Sir Hubert Herkomer
at Bushey; Slade School under Henry Tonks; fresco in Florence
Biography
- 1902: Edward Roworth came to South Africa with British forces engaged in Anglo-Boer War; remained and settled in Cape Town; established a teaching studio in Burg St and became active in art-circles; set himself the goal of achieving a distinctively South African style in landscape; joined South African Society of Artists; became centre of controversy through public expression of his forthright attitudes; respected as a portraitist and important commissions came his way.
- 1908: Edward Roworth elected President of South African Society of Artists, a position he occupied again in 1918-20 and 1933-36.
- 1909: Edward Roworth received his most significant commission, the task of painting the National Convention - a 5m x 6m panel portraying the 33 men assembled to plan Union. The work occupied him until 1911; it was hung in Buckingham Palace before being installed in the House of Assembly, Cape Town.
- 1912: he painted what are believed to have been the first frescoes in South Africa, in St Phillips Church, Cape Twon.
- 1917: Edward Roworth was commissioned by Studio Publications to write the essay on `Landscape Art in South Africa for `Art of the British Empire Overseas'; his influence increased rapidly, but sales of his work fell off during the war and he persuaded Ernest Lezard, the Johannesburg art dealer, to experiment with auctioning paintings - a great success; one painting sold by American auction realized R2 800 - highest price yet received for a South African picture.
- 1927: although he had previously opposed Leo Francois' South African Institute of Art, during a period of residence in Natal Edward Roworth became an active Council mem-ber.
- 1930: Edward Roworth appointed Trustee of South African National Gallery.
- 1932: member of the National Academy, later Chairman.
- 1934: Edward Roworth commissioned by South African Governmennt to paint six panels for South Africa House, London.
- 1935: Edward Roworth awarded King George V Silver Jubilee Medal for services to art in South Africa. Director of Michaelis Art School.
- 1938: appointed to Chair of Fine Arts at UCT.
- 1939: Edward Roworth appointed Acting-Director of South African National Gallery.
- 1941-48: especially from the time of his appointment as Director of the Gallery in 1941, he was the focus of continuous controversy and criticism; became the protagonist of reactionary and dictatorial artistic attitudes and the bete noire of younger, progressive South African artists; retired as Director in 1948.
- 1953: Gallery retired from Chair of Fine Arts, appointed Prof Emeritus; turned his full attention to easel-painting and portraiture; continued to receive important commissions eg portrait of Pres Swart in 1961, but his authority had been superceded and his influence waned. One of his paintings reproduced by I: Schweikerdt (Pty) Ltd.
Exhibitions
- 1903: one-man art exhibitions in Cape Town and Johannesburg; South African Society of Artists exhibitions.
- 1924: South African Art, Empire Exhibition, Wembley.
- 1927: Inaugural Exhibition South African Institute, Durban.
- 1936: Empire Exhibition, Johannesburg.
- 1953: Rhodes Centenary Exhibition, Bulawayo.
Public Collections
South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Johannesburg Art Gallery; Durban Art Gallery; Ann Bryant Gallery, East London; AC White Gallery, Bloemfontein; William Humphreys Gallery, Kimberley; Queenstown Art Gallery; Albany Mus, Grahamstown; King George VI Gallery, Port Elizabeth; Pietersburg Collection.
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