R.G. Mathews

1870 - 1955

By Ronan Thomas

Richard George Mathews was born in Montreal, Canada in 1870. After publishing drawings for the satirical newspaper The Grip in 1892 and sketching in New York, he returned to Canada to work as reportage artist for The Montreal Star. At the Star, his portraits included the writer Rudyard Kipling (1900). Moving to London in 1907, he contributed shaded sketches and Edwardian celebrity portraits to the Star and to the British illustrated magazines The Bystander and The Graphic. During the Great War, he painted several pictures featuring British and Canadian soldiers and in the 1920s produced many celebrity portraits, including the journalist Arnold Bennett (1920) and writer Joseph Conrad (1921). By the mid-1930s, Mathews was increasingly preoccupied by architectural and landscape subjects and in 1935 accepted a commission to draw London scenes for the society magazine The Tatler.

During the London Blitz and in the immediate post war years, R.G. Mathews was appointed as a war artist by the War Artists' Advisory Committee (WAAC), travelling from his home in Hampstead to record the many bomb sites of the ravaged capital. He produced a series of pencil, chalk and watercolour pieces of blitzed London buildings, including: St Paul’s After the Blitz (1941), After the Blitz; St Paul’s from Newgate Street (1941) Exterior view of workmen clearing away rubble from the damaged entrance of the Burlington Arcade (1941), View of damage to Peabody Buildings, Pimlico, 1945 (1945), Exterior/Interior of St James’s Piccadilly (1945), View of bombsite on the Strand (1946), View of damage to Shaftesbury Theatre, Oct 1945 (1945),View of bomb damage in Sutherland Terrace, Pimlico, 1945 (1945), View of the Church of St Anne’s, Soho, August 1945 (1945), View of St Clement Danes looking west (1946), View of bomb-damaged York Buildings (1945) View of bomb-damaged Christ Church, Broadway (1946), View of the bombed ruins of Little Theatre, John Adam Street (1946) and 18th Century houses seen through a bombsite in Victoria Street (1947).

R.G. Mathews died in 1955.

Photo:View of Little Adam Theatre, John Adam Street, 1946
Photo:Charing Cross Hospital, 1946
Photo:Burlington Arcade, 1941
Photo:St. James's Piccadilly, 1945
Photo:Victoria Street, 1947
This gallery was added by Camilla Bergman on 25/10/2010.
Comments about this page

OUTSTANDING. I OWN AN ORIGINAL WORK OF ART BY R.G.MATHEWS(1948)" ENTRANCE TO THE NATIONAL PROVINCIAL BANK 40-41 THREADNEEDLE ST, LONDON". I PURCHASED IT FROM THE ESTATE OF LADY BEAVERBROOK(2ND WIFE OF LORD BEAVERBROOK). SHE WAS THE WIDOW OF SIR JAMES DUNN(CANADIAN INDUSTRY LEADER) WHO WAS A PATRON OF RICHARD GEORGE MATHEWS, AS WAS WILLIAM CORNELIUS VanHORNE( FOUNDER OF THE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILROAD). R.G.MATHEWS WORKED AS AN ARTIST FOR VanHORNE PRIOR TO MOVING TO ENGLAND. WAS THERE A CATALOGUE PRODUCED FOR 'THE WEST WND AT WAR EXHIBITION'? IF SO, IS THERE ANY WAY OF PURCHASING THE SAME FOR MY COLLECTION. REGARDS, RAY ADAMS FREDERICTON,NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA

By RAY ADAMS
On 04/05/2011

Dear Ray We do have one spare copy of the catalogue left. If you would like to e-mail me your address I will send it on to you. I will however contact my colleague, who is currently out of the country to see if she still has an electronic copy she can email you too.

By Peter Daniel
On 04/08/2011

I too own an original work by R.G. Matthews. It is entitled "From a drawing made from a window in the National Provincial Bank January 13 - 18th 1941" Signed R.G. Matthews 1948. I suspect it is from the Lady Beaverbrook Estate as well, but I cannot prove it's provenance. I bought it in a thrift shop in Saint John, New Brunswick. I am trying to find an electronic copy of the auction catalog, but have had no luck. if someone could forward an electonic copy of the West End At War catalog, of if anyone has any info about my painting, I'd appreciate an email to rinehat@nbnet.nb.ca

By Scott Rinehart
On 14/07/2011

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.