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Screen - Pastoral
  • Pastoral
    Albert Daniel Rutherston, born 1881 - died 1953
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  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1937 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Albert Daniel Rutherston, born 1881 - died 1953 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Encaustic on canvas

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The painter and illustrator Albert Rutherston was born on 5 December 1881 in Bradford, Yorkshire. The son of Jewish immigrants of northern German descent, and younger brother of painter Sir William Rothenstein, he changed his name to Rutherston in 1916, possibly to differentiate himself from his more successful brother but most likely due to the anti-German sentiment that corresponded with the war.

Like his brother, he attended the Slade School of Fine Art in London at which he befriended Augustus John and William Orpen. The Three Musketeers, as William Rothenstein described them, sketched and painted together, visited music halls and theatres to scout out potential life models and visited France where, in Paris, they met the artist Charles Conder, whose exquisite fan designs painted on silk would come to influence Rutherston’s later work. Rutherston was also friends with Wyndham Lewis, with whom he briefly shared a house, as well as Walter Sickert and Spencer Gore, of whom he painted a portrait in 1902 (National Portrait Gallery). Following his marriage to actress in 1919 to Marjory Holman, Rutherston took up teaching, first at the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts before moving to be director of the Oxford School of Painting and Drawing where, after it merged with the Ruskin School of Drawing in 1922, he taught with Paul Nash.

Rutherston first exhibited in 1900 at the New English Art Club. Having been made a member in 1903 he continued to show his work here until 1941, exhibiting a total of 153 works. As well as contributing to group exhibitions, he also had numerous one-man shows throughout his career, the first of which was in 1910 at the Carfax Gallery, London, a gallery co-founded by his brother in 1898 and an important centre for the Camden Town Group. During his career he exhibited here once more in 1913, as well as the Leicester Galleries, London (1921, 1926, 1934, 1953), the Oxford Art Club (1934), the Stafford Gallery, London (1939), and the Oxford University Arts Club (1949). He became an associate of Royal Watercolour Society in 1934 and a full member in 1942. He was Ruskin Master of Drawing at Oxford from 1929 to 1949, and author of Decoration in the Art of the Theatre, 1919 and editor of the Contemporary British Artists series, 1923-7.

Rutherston’s career shows him to be a man of many artistic interests. Beginning as a painter, his early portraits show an interest in street life and working women, with Coster Girl, 1906 (Arts Council Collection at the Southbank Centre), being a prime example of this. He subsequently moved on to decorative watercolours often executed on silk or fan designs which were to be included in furniture such as mirrors or fire screens. Rutherston was also a prominent illustrator, and made designs for the works of Thomas Hardy and Walter de la Mare. He also worked in the theatre, creating imaginative set and costume designs for Harley Granville-Barker’s productions of The Winter’s Tale (1912) and George Bernard Shaw’s Androcles and the Lion (1913-4) as well as Anna Pavlova’s ballet Le reveil de Flore (1914). Rutherston also designed calendars, catalogue covers and London Underground posters.

Pastoral is a large decorative screen which was bought by the museum both as a good example of Rutherston’s work and as a prime example of decorative art of the 1930s. Commissioned for the British pavilion for the 1937 Paris exhibition ‘Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne’ it would have been shown alongside modern furniture. The screen is similar in style to Rutherston’s illustrations, and also draws inspiration from Art Deco, the artistic style originating from the previous Paris exhibition of 1925.


J. Johnson and A. Greutzner, The dictionary of British artists, 1880–1940 (Woodbridge; Antiques Collectors’ Club, 1976)

Grant M. Waters, Dictionary of British artists, working 1900–1950 (Eastbourne: Eastbourne Fine Art, 1975)

Physical description

An eight panel screen, wax medium on canvas, depicting figures engaged in various activities across the panels, including a man with an insect catching net, a group of bathers, a huntsman with a gun, and two separate women admiring the hills, cottages and cloudy coastal scene beyond. The figures are interspersed with trees. Signed and dated on the eighth panel.

Place of Origin

Britain (made)


1937 (painted)


Albert Daniel Rutherston, born 1881 - died 1953 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Encaustic on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

'Albert R 1937'
Signed and dated by the artist


Height: 2160 mm, Width: 845 mm each panel is between 830 and 845mm, Depth: 30 mm

Object history note

This screen was painted for and exhibited in the British Pavilion at the Paris Exposition in France in 1937.

Descriptive line

An eight panel screen, wax medium on canvas, by Albert Rutherston, entitled 'Pastoral'. Great Britain, 1937.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1938, London: Board of Education, 1939.


Wax; Canvas


Encaustic painting

Subjects depicted

Willow; Views; Leisure; Screen; Panels; Pastoral; Huntsman; Bathing; Trees


Paintings; Furniture; Entertainment & Leisure; Hunting


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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