Stephen Bone Artist
Stephen Bone (1904–58) was the son of the Scottish artist Muirhead Bone. He was encouraged to draw by his father and was taught as a boy by Stanley Spencer, who lodged for a while at the Bone family house near Petersfield. Stephen Bone studied at the Slade, but left early, not liking the school’s academic approach to draughtsmanship, and embarked on a career as a book illustrator, excelling as a wood engraver. He travelled widely, with his wife and fellow artist Mary Adshead (they met at the Slade), and when he travelled, he painted, producing colourful landscapes on board.
Bone conveys atmosphere so well with his limited palette and worked similar magic in many locations throughout the UK. In the oil on board of Easdale Island in Argyllshire we see the white houses with grey slate roofs sat down low in the lush green of the coast and the sky is cloudy and I don’t think it’s too fanciful to imagine that those clouds were moving and that it was a windy day.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Stephen Bone enlisted as an officer in the Civil Defence Camouflage Establishment based in Leamington Spa. In June 1943 Bone was appointed by the War Artists' Advisory Committee to be a full-time salaried artist to the Ministry of Information specialising in Admiralty subjects. He recorded the 1944 Normandy landings, painted scenes in Caen and Courseulles after the invasion. After the War, Bone found his style of painting somewhat out of fashion and, although he continued to paint, he found it difficult to get his work exhibited. With his wife, he wrote and illustrated children's books. He died in St Bartholomew's Hospital, London.