Flint, Sir William Russell

Flint, Sir William Russell. RA, RE. (1880 – 1969)

Displayed on our website as current or past stock – ‘Frileuse’ – Drypoint etching / ‘Eve’ – Drypoint etching / ‘Aragonese String Makers’ – Drypoint etching / ‘Bagno della Marchesa’ Drypoint etching / ‘Clatter and Whirl, Granada’ – Drypoint etching / ‘A Spanish Christening’ Drypoint etching

Sir William Russell Flint is most popularly known for his watercolours; light and airy, sun-filled, often exotic scenes.He had a taste and a natural talent for the pleasurable rendition of the sensual. He was by no means only a watercolourist though. He produced large scale works in oil, some of which can be viewed in major public collections, and he was also a consummate draughtsman and etcher. These latter forms benefit from the keen influence of his years as a young man when he worked largely as an illustrator. The female form is the predominant subject matter for him in these media, with many drawings of nudes. In etching, he took to the technique of drypoint, in which, rather than acid being used as the agent to etch into the copper plate, a needle is applied directly to the copper. This enhances the ability of the artist to vary the intensity of line, so that the sensual line of Flint’s figure drawing could also be a prime factor in his production of an original print. He said – “…at a single stroke the line can be varied from a hair’s breadth to a deep ridged furrow”. His period of production of drypoints stated in 1928 and in the main, lasted for just a few years.

Flint was born 1880 in Edinburgh, where he grew up and studied at The Royal Institute of Art. For six years he was apprenticed to a firm of lithographers. In 1900 he moved to London where he had varied work, mainly as an illustrator, including four years with ‘The Illustrated London News’. The 1914 – 18 war interrupted his developing life as a freelance artist. Flint served in the Royal Airforce and became a captain. After the war, through the fifty years until his death age 89, Flint developed a very successful and lucrative career. He was elected a full Royal Academician in 1933 and in the same year was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers. He received a knighthood in 1947.