CAS Permanent Collection . Anthony Atkinson
Anthony Atkinson was a landscape painter, influential art teacher and exhibition organiser. Educated at Wimbledon School of Art (1951-1954), Atkinson continued his painting training at the Royal College of Art, London (1954-1955). From 1956-66 Atkinson's paintings were reproduced as posters for London Transport which included adverts for the annual London Boat Race in 1956 and posters depicting the countryside around Runnymede promoting day trips 'beyond the city'. In 1964 Atkinson was appointed Head of Colchester School of Art and in 1976 Head of the Faculty of Art and Music, Colchester Institute of Higher Education. In the 1990s he organised group exhibitions at Ernst & Young that introduced and promoted young painters to a new audience.
Atkinson became a member of Colchester Art Society in 1965 and was made an Honorary Member of the Society in 1973, considerably contributing to its selection process. From 2000 to 2015 he was its President. He was also governor of Gainsborough’s House Society.
He showed at the Royal Academy in 1950 and had a number of exhibitions at the Minories Art Gallery. Floods at Boxted was aquired during that period, in the 1960's. His later paintings, which focussed on Provence and the South of France, demonstrate Atkinson's adeptness for gouache, a medium for which he championed and wrote about.
Anthony Atkinson is well known for his landscapes of Essex and the East Anglian countryside, in particular views of Boxted near where he lived. Like many artists he made preparatory sketches and studies en plein air, and returned to his studio to make final paintings.
Boxted is a village five miles North of Colchester. Part of the village is within the Dedham Vale conservation area where any development of buildings is tightly controlled, because of its natural beauty. The village is situated on the river Stour and its extensive water meadows (c. 300 acres), as illustrated in this painting, are frequently liable to flood.
This painting, Floods at Boxted, shows the artist’s particular appreciation of the East Anglian countryside. The gestural brush marks in this painting of the trees and the grasses express a daring yet playful command of the medium, which is a prime example of his more impasto early style. The subtle, almost cold, palette deployed for the sky and the water which creates a quiet, contemplative mood is characteristic both of the artist and his local environment.
The Minories, Colchester, 1962, 1966 (October), 1967, Recent Paintings and Drawings of Essex and Provence, 1970
Also Hitchin Museum and The Phoenix Gallery, Lavenham
ATKINSON, Anthony, Recent Painting and Drawings of Essex and Provence, The Minories, Colchester, 1970
BUCKMAN, David, Dictionary of artists in Britain since 1945, Art Dictionaries Ltd, Bristol, 1998, p. 86
I am grateful to Melissa Blanchflower for her research on the artist