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In 1957 the newspapers announced Anthony Christian (known at the time as Howard Clanford) as a Child Prodigy since, having started at only ten years of age, he was studying art at The National Gallery, making him the youngest person ever to have permission to copy there. This honour is normally reserved for professional artists and students, but certainly never to anyone under the age of eighteen, making Christian's position unique even to this day. For the press that was a story in itself, but the thing that really grabbed their attention was the subject that Christian had chosen to copy and the sheer quality of the painting he was producing.
The painting he was copying was Philip Wouwermans' 'A Cavalry Battle', an extremely large and complicated painting measuring 6 feet by 4 feet 6 inches. So daunting was this painting that no other artist has ever attempted to reproduce it, but at only 10 years of age Anthony Christian was doing exactly that. It took him over six years to complete and during that time he had received offers up to £25,000 (in 1957) By the early sixties he was making a name for himself as a portrait painter, receiving commissions from the world's rich and famous, which senht him travelling all over the world from New York to Nepal. Come the eighties he had become very well known for his preservation of the Renaissance techniques; Society Magazine referred to him as "the World's fore-most Renaissance-style painter". But commissions never pleased him as his clients rarely wanted an image of themselves as his eye saw them, but rather an idealized version themselves. Christian wanted to become a Master of his own unique style that honoured the techniques of the Old Masters, and he realised that he could not achieve this through endless commissions.
So he left the mainstream market and sought refuge in Asia, and thus Anthony Christian disappeared from the Western World. He continued to paint in Asia, in fact by being free to his own style and inspiration he became extremely prolific. He experimented with technique and genre creating very inspired works. In 1988 he settled in Bali where he established his first gallery which was extremely popular with clients across Asia.
In 1994 he moved to India and found great inspiration in the country's landscape and culture, and later established the Ichor Foundation which has now expanded into India's center for bio-dynamic farming.
He has recently moved back to the United Kingdom and lives in Yorkshire with his wife
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In 1970, photographer Derek Cattani met up with John Rendall and Ace Bourke and Christian the Lion. The result was an amazing collection of images of Christian's life as a Chelsea lion. Later than year, Derek embarked with John, Ace Christian and a film crew to Africa and met up with George Adamson who rehabiliated Christian back into the wild.
Derek's photos are a unique record of Christian's life. A percentage of all sales will be donated to the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust.
As a special Xmas offer, all fine art prints of Christian the Lion have been reduced by 10% from original price of £250. Each print will be signed by both Derek Cattani and John Rendall.
To view the stunning fine art prints, please click on the link below.
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At about the age of eight, John's life-long passion for photography was born when he spotted a plastic camera at a local funfair in London's East End. He just had to win it, it was as simple as that. Knowing that possessing the camera would let him take home all the memories of that day.
There is always something new to appreciate about 'ground-breaking' professional photography. Photographer and writer, John Chillingworth wrote in his series (20th Century Greats) evaluating photography's 'greats', that he has seldom, if ever, met someone with the same natural creative needs as the good and great of earlier generations. Whatever the rule, John Claridge is the exception.
Another case of déja vu? An East End education (or lack of it). Left school at 15 – talked his way into his first job in photography and the rest is history!
Well, no! John Claridge is, in every way, a one-off. True, the boy from Plaistow, with a handful of 'jack-the-lad' cultural contemporaries could have drifted into dead-end employment, or brushes with the law, or worse, but there was something different about him.
As a consequence, in 1960, at the behest of the West Ham Labour Exchange, he dressed in his best East End 'duds', with hair plastered at a jaunty angle and armed only with a bucketful of determination, the boy from Plaistow went 'up West'. The interview resulted in a job at McCann-Erickson in the Photographic Department.
He strode forward with the kind of youthful exuberance, which college-educated contemporaries often failed to comprehend, let alone emulate, Claridge grew in stature.
During the two years he worked at McCanns, not only did he have his first one-man show, but he was also inspired by many, namely the legendary designer Robert Brownjohn. His work, exhibited at this first one-man show, was acclaimed in the photographic press as 'shades of Walker Evans'.
At seventeen he turned up on the doorstep of Bill Brandt's Hampstead home – to give him one of his treasured prints. Gentle and polite, Brandt invited him in; sought the young Claridge's opinion on his current work and sent him away feeling ten feet high.
Recommended by established photographers and art directors, he became David Montgomery's assistant between the ages of seventeen and nineteen.
By the tender age of nineteen he had opened his own studio near London's St Paul's Cathedral.
His ideas and his images matured rapidly. A mix of editorial and advertising commissions brought him and his easy confidence to the attention of 1960s advertising trendsetters.
The result of which has been the presentation of over 700 awards for his work.
His by-line became familiar in many of the monthly magazines of the day and his reputation began to move from a national to an international level.
By the age of twenty-three, as well as having a home on the Essex marshes and a de rigueur E-type Jaguar, although his real sporting love was and still is the motorbike, he had written, produced and shot a short film titled "Five Soldiers". An American Civil War tale which, when shown on a university campus in the US, caused a riot among the students as it was compared with the war in Vietnam … the press compared the film to Luis Buñuel. The film was eventually banned but made its way onto the underground circuit.
A doyen of the 'golden age'. He realises now that he had been working in the 'golden age of advertising', and as the years melted into decades, the commissions took him around the world. Tourist boards in the Bahamas, India and the US recognised his highly individual visual talent.
Banks, whisky distillers, international corporations, car manufacturers, all were (and still are) prepared to give him his head to create images that inspired their ad agency art directors to greater and more stunning campaigns.
So, what is it that makes John Claridge great? He is a man of the world, whose influence will be transmitted to future generations of photographers.
Throughout his working decades he has maintained a mile-high wall of professionalism, which, despite today's clients who sometimes attempt to stifle creativity, as well as the virtual absence of passion in the business, he holds true the belief that his photography is from the heart – not the head!
John’s work has moved on over recent years. Here is what eminent photography critic and historian Helena Srakocic-Kovac recently had to say about John’s work: “When you decided to pull back from advertising … which, I think, is such a shame because you revolutionised it and elevated it to an art form … you have been substituting it with work of equivalent value, guts and visual strength but so very different … so much to see … to me at times it appears as if it's not yours … unstructured and scattered in its beauty … you used to tell stories and now it's more about feelings and moments in life …”
His work is held in museums and private collections worldwide, including The Arts Council of Great Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum, National Portrait Gallery and The Museum of Modern Art.
He has also published six books: "South American Portfolio" (1982), "One Hundred Photographs" (1988), "Seven Days in Havana" (2000), "8 Hours" (2002), "In Shadows I Dream" (2003) and "East London" (2007).
With thanks to John Chillingworth and Helena Srakocic-Kovac, the authors and copyright holders of this text.
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Roy Cameron trained in photography and joined the Royal Air Force as a photographer serving in UK and Germany. Worked as a Newspaper Photographer Freelance & staff from Aberdeen to Plymouth and won three first prizes in press work - Dennis & Margaret Thatcher, Prince Charles playing polo and child being brought back to life after house fire. He photographed numerous personalities including Sean Connery, John Cleese, Peter Cook, Rowan Atkinson, Tony Hancock, Susan Hampshire, Vanessa Redgrave, Lorraine Kelly, Ulrika Johnson, Margaret Lockwood, Johnny Cash and family, Rod Stewart, Tom Jones, Cliff Richard, Ronald & Nancy Regan, Clint Eastwood, Bing Crosby, Jack Lemon, Billy Connolly, Terry Waite, Archbishop Desmond TuTu, Neil Armstrong etc.... All British Prime Ministers from Harold Wilson to Tony Blair, Princess Diana and most of the Royals. Roy is now selling his unpublished rare Beatles photographs taken in September 1967 in Black & White during a lunch break while filming Magical Mystery Tour.
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Born in the UK, as a young child Anne travelled overseas with her parents and was brought up in Nigeria, Australia and Kenya where she lived for eleven years. After qualifying in the UK as a Registered Nurse and later as a Registered Midwife, Anne then worked in Saudi Arabia and South Africa. She met her Lancastrian husband Bob in Johannesburg. When their first child was born they returned to the UK, unwilling to raise a family in a country which at that time still adhered to the policy of apartheid.
Throughout all these years art was a much loved hobby and Anne enjoyed a constant source of reference material wherever she went, taking photos and making sketches. However, Anne always dreamt of finding a way to develop her skills as an artist and so, when their youngest child started school, Anne returned to her studies and gained a B.A. (Hons) in Design (Natural History and Scientific Illustration). She then went on to study part time on a post graduate diploma in Medical Art, qualifying in November 2008.
Anne now works in the visual arts; as a Fine Artist, Designer, Illustrator, Medical Artist and Writer.
As a Fine Artist Anne works on commission and towards exhibitions, both solo and group and her work is available at a number of Galleries around the country. Anne says:
“Portrait art and figurative art are a speciality. Landscape painting offers a myriad of technical challenges that I love but animal art is a real passion. I am constantly inspired to try to create artwork that has a narrative, whether real or imaged. As I always say; if I look across the studio and get the feeling that part of painting could come to life, then it is beginning to work!”
In her work as a designer, illustrator and medical artist Anne enjoys being commissioned on a wide variety of subjects ranging from children’s book and logos to specialist biomedical, veterinary and scientific images.
Anne is also a contributing writer for Leisure Painter Magazine and enjoys working on her (as yet!) unpublished novel (a political thriller) and on a number of children’s books.
A recent new direction is teaching; after many requests Anne has started to teach adult education art classes one day a week (term time) and on some holiday courses.
A Founder Member, Trustee and Chairman of the Association of Animal Artists, Anne enjoys working with fellow artists to promote animal art, to help artists develop their skills, find exhibition opportunities and support animal charities. She regularly attends AAA Art Rendezvous days where she demonstrates her artwork to the public. Anne also runs the AAA ‘En plein air’ group.
With a background in healthcare and having spent years travelling, sometimes to quite remote places, when Anne came across the charity Feet First Worldwide she resolved to use her artwork to offer support. She was thrilled when Art of Giving agreed to accept Feet First Worldwide as one of their nominated charities.
About Art of Giving, Anne writes:
“Art of Giving has given me the opportunity to really focus on my artwork, to create the best images I can…so that in some small way I can help support charities who do so much to help others; human and animal, around the world.’
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