An Australian artist in London: The untold story of Hewitt Henry Rayner (1902-1957) and his friendship with Walter Sickert By Roger Staton, with Foreword by Matthew Sturgis
This is the first ever book about henry Rayner. It covers the artist's formative years growing up in Australia and New Zealand, his arrival in England in 1923, his experiences at the Royal Academy Schools, and his 30-year struggle to pursue his art in the face of poverty, ill health, war injuries, the economic depression of the 1930s and (as he saw it) the hostility of some people within the British art community.
The story is rich in detail, thanks to information from his own notes and unpublished manuscripts, discovered in 2003, supplemented by original research.
The 320-page book is also copiously illustrated with some 170 examples of his drypoint work, drawings, paintings, and photographs.
Rayner’s decade-long friendship with Sickert is a central theme of the book. Other characters who flit in and out of the story include Augustus John, Nina Hamnett, Ethel Mannin, Arnold Bennett, Philip Wilson Steer, Yoshio Markino, and Charles Sims.
The Foreword to this new biography has been contributed by Matthew Sturgis, author of the authoritative 2005 biography 'Sickert: a life' (Harper Collins).
He sees it as "... a useful and enduring addition to the story of early Twentieth Century British art .... it adds many things to the record of Sickert’s life, his working practices, his teaching methods, his work-spaces, and his character".
An Australian artist in London: The untold story of Hewitt Henry Rayner (1902-1957) and his friendship with Walter Sickert, by Roger Staton, with Foreword by Matthew Sturgis, and additional research and analysis by Sheilagh Wilford, is available via all good booksellers.