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Cecil Osborne 

(Poplar, East London 1909-1996 Cadiz, Spain) 

Regent's Park Paddling Pool   *SOLD*

oil on canvas 

signed and dated lower left 'C. Osborne 1932' 


36 x 46 cm. 

Osborne was largely self-taught, becoming a key member of the East London Group, joining after he saw the 1928 East London Club show at the Whitechapel Art Gallery. Having attended commercial college, he was literate in shorthand, and became the group’s treasurer and secretary. He went on to show with the Group at Lefevre Gallery, with NEAC, the Royal Academy, and the Civil Defence Artists’ Association at Cooling’s Gallery, becoming a close friend of their founder John Cooper. Although he hadn’t attended Cooper’s classes at the Bow and Bromley Evening Institute in the mid-‘20s, he attended Cooper’s 1930s classes on mosaic at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, and acted as Cooper’s assistant at his Camden Town studio, working on murals and municipal decorations. 

After Cooper’s death in 1943 and the end of WWII, Osborne tried to revive the East London Group, but opportunities for the painters were slim and it proved an abortive effort. To earn a living, Osborne became a draftsman for St. Pancras Borough Council, who also commissioned the artist to paint three large wall panels in oil relating to its history. Osborne’s work is rare to find today, and there is only one painting in an institution, ‘Sunday Morning, Farringdon Road’, at Brighton and Hove Museums and Art Galleries. 

Source: David Buckman, ‘From Bow to Biennale: Artists of the East London Group’, 2015.

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