Charles William Cain Biography

Charles William Cain




Printmaker and painter Charles William Cain was born in Surrey, England, in 1893. In London he attended the Camberwell School of Art and then the Royal College of Art, where he studied printmaking under Frank Short. Out of college, he traveled to South Africa, where he was employed by the Johannesburg Star until the onset of World War I, when he entered the British Army Border Regiment, serving as a war artist in Mesopotamia and India. Many drawings from this period now hang in the Imperial War Museum. 

Following the war he continued to travel throughout Africa. Much of his work reflects his time and observations in India and the Middle East, primarily drypoints printed in the 1920s and '30s. He exhibited with the Royal Academy from 1921 to 1959, and received critical acclaim from such publications as the Illustrated London News, the Westminster Gazette, the Scotsman, and more, and he became known as one of England's foremost Orientalist printmakers. He died in Kent, England, in 1962.

Cain's work can be found in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum; the British Museum; the Yale Center for British Art; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.