Robert Sargent Austin Biography

Robert Sargent Austin




Printmaker, painter, illustrator, and currency designer Robert Sargent Austin was born in Leicester, England on May 23, 1895. Austin's unflagging interest in expanding his vision and teaching what he learned allowed for a prolific career.  A student of printmaking at the end of the "etching revival," Austin studied at the Leicester Municiple School of Art (1909 - 1913), and then at the Royal College of Art in London preceeding and after World War I. There he studied engraving under Sir Frank Short, and was awarded the Rome Scholarship to study engraving in Italy in 1922. While there, he met and married writer Ada May Harrison. The couple returned to England in 1926 and Austin began teaching at the Royal College.

During World War II Austin enlisted as a war artist, recording the efforts of women in the Royal Air Force and nursing services. Upon his return, he taught at the Royal College of Art, and worked as an advisor on the design of banknotes to the Bank of England.

In 1927 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers, where he would later succeed Malcome Osborne to become president (1962 - 1973).He was elected a full member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1934, and later also served as president, from 1957 to 1973. He was elelcted an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1939 and to the full membership in 1949.

Robert Austin died in Burnham Overy Staithe, England on September 18, 1973