A wonderful study of the artist ‘aged 21’ looking self assured and confident. John produced many self-portraits throughout his career but this work is perhaps more significant in that it records his time spent with the RAF. In the picture, we can see the customary method of overlapping paper which he continued to do in his later work. The portrait on the back of the page is inscribed R.A.F. Biggin Hill, January 1958.
John had been conscripted into the RAF for National Service in 1957. He was stationed at Duxford where he served in E.P.A.S. (Equipment, Pay and Accounting Section). His time with the RAF ended in 1959.
Before John was conscripted to the RAF he had been a student at Canterbury College of Art. He had started there in 1954 and in his second year took a course in Advertisement Design, he was awarded a 1st with distinction in Drawing, and a further two 1st’s for Design and History and Methods. In his final year, he took The Examination for the National Diploma in Design and passed with first-class honours. The college’s principal A. Moody wrote to John congratulating him on his distinguished success. In the same year after returning from the RAF John entered the Royal Academy Schools, wherein 1962, his final year; he won the drawing prize and married a fellow student, Carolyn Cann. The influence of his time spent in the RAF may be the reason he went on to sign his drawings with the Sergeant’s Stripes.
Condition: The paper has been cleaned and patched and has a few thin areas with holes which have been stabilised.