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.
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 animal painter and teacher, Frank Calderon.
In 1892 he bombarded 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 became a friend of Lionel Edwards, Alfred Munnings G.D. Armour and Cedric Morris. 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.
Many of these drawings are bookplates from “Just Among Friends” Pages from My Sketch Books by Cecil Aldin Originally published by Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, 1934. .
The artist calls these drawings “studies of types and poses, expression or character” which do indeed capture the personalities of the dogs. One of twenty-seven single sided brown pages of studies, mostly in charcoal with occasional white and coloured highlights