Eric Slater Biography

Eric Slater




Eric Slater was an artist who produced more than 30 colour woodcuts between 1928 and the outbreak of the Second World War.  Many depict scenes near his home in Seaford, East Sussex, where he lived for most of his adult life.

A frail, only child, Eric Slater was born in London in 1896 and spent his early years with his parents, grandmother and two servants in a large house in Hampstead, London.  His father, Thomas, a successful silversmith and partner in the firm Aldwinkle and Slater, died when Eric was eight.

Eric moved with his mother and grandmother to Sussex where he studied at The Hastings School of Art.  He was probably taught how to make woodcuts by a neighbour named Arthur Rigden Read (1879-1955) who had been to Japan to study oriental woodcut techniques used by European printmakers from the 1890s. 

European woodcuts, less formal than Japanese woodcuts, were marketed as affordable art for ordinary homes.  They were also popular in the United States where Eric Slater won a gold medal for his 1930 picture of Seaford Head. From his studio at his house in Seaford, Slater established an international reputation exhibiting in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Austria and South Africa, but the death of his mother in 1938, the outbreak of war and changing fashions ended his career.

Eric Slater died in obscurity in Seaford in 1963.  A solicitor’s notice in the Sussex Gazette made no mention of his art.  He is buried in a shared grave at Seaford.
Source: James Trollope: