A highly regarded and successful artist in his lifetime, Sir William Russell Flint, RA left an extensive collection of watercolours behind him on his death in 1969. Born in 1880 in Edinburgh, he studied at the Royal Institution School of Art and undertook a six-year long apprenticeship to a large printing works. At the age of 20 he moved to London where he began work as an illustrator, first for a medical publication and then for the Illustrated London News. In 1907 he went freelance and, during this period, he produced many famous illustrations for classical limited editions such as Chaucers The Canterbury Tales and Mallorys Morte dArthur.
After serving in the First World War, he spent some time in France and Spain where he enjoyed depicting scenes of local culture and landscapes, as well as painting the female form. It was at this time that his career as an artist truly began to flourish. He illustrated a great understanding for light on form and captured the beauty of the female body with considerable flair. Notable aspects of his style include the use of rich colour, close detail and stylised composition.
In 1924 Russell Flint became an Associate of the Royal Academy and in 1933 he was elected to full membership. Other notable artistic appointments included the post of President of the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour (1936) and he was also Artist Laureate to Queen Victoria at the end of her reign. He was knighted in 1947.