- artist and teacher Robert Whitmore was born in Norfolk in 1908 and died in Shoreham by Sea in 1993.
He taught art for 40 years at Kilburn Grammar School, a career interrupted only by a few years fighting the
enemy with a double bass, a screwdriver and a paintbrush in the RAF.
Sue has many of the paintings he did of air bases,
planes and wartime scenes. At this time he exhibited with the Royal Canadian Academy
Just before being called up he had met another young teacher, who, like himself
had been evacuated to Northampton with her Willesden pupils. He began her portrait
- described by friends as 'well-handled', a portrait that ended in marriage.
When he was demobbed back to England it was to his wife and his daughter, Jane.
Sue was born after the War ended. He was married for over fifty years to Marjorie
Whitmore, who died in early 2008, aged 95.
He first came to London from Kings Lynn at the age of seventeen with a painting scholarship from Norfolk, attending the Regent Street Polytechnic - then a highly regarded art college.
He studied printmaking at the Central and drawing at the Slade. After graduating he was unprepared to accept more parental
help and went for a teaching job rather than post-graduate studies, something he later regretted. The job, which began in 1925,
turned out to be a good one and he was, by all accounts, a good teacher. His most famous ex-student, Royal Academician
Ken Howard, attributes his enthusiasm, and the direction his work took to this early influence. Incidentally,
Kilburn Grammar School is now the Islamia School in Salusbury Road. As President of the Old Boys Association, he carried on
attending their annual dinners well into the 1980's, invited, he always maintained, so that they should feel younger. Although he regarded himself primarily as an artist, like any other committed teacher the profession sapped much of the
energy her needed for his own work.
But he had early success; Sue has one picture that was accepted by the Royal Academy
when he was only
twenty-three years old. During the 30's, 40's and 50's he exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
, the Hampstead
Arts Council open air shows in Hampstead Village. When he finally left teaching in 1967 he opened a small gallery in Lewes,
Sussex, and sold his own paintings and c18th and c19th watercolours and prints, many of them from a collection he had been
putting together all his life. He had his first/last/only solo exhibition at the Tricycle Gallery
in Kilburn in 1984,
but not long after this, his health began to deteriorate until he died in Shoreham by Sea in 1993, suffering from Parkinsons Disease.
This is a very brief biography of Robert Whitmore. Due to his dedication as a teacher, he never promoted his painting enough,
but he was, nevertheless, a prolific, talented artist. If you know of the whereabouts of his any of his paintings,
or would like to get in touch for any other reason, please email