THE LIFE OF CECIL ALDIN

The Life of Cecil Aldin

Cecil Aldin was born 28 April 1870. He was educated at Eastbourne College, then Solihull Grammar School. He studied art at the studio of Albert Moore and then the National Art Training School which later became The Royal College of Art. In 1892 he bombarded periodicals with his illustrations, and thereby started a long association with The Illustrated London News. He was also commissioned to illustrate "The Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling. The birth of his son and daughter inspired his nursery pictures which together with his large sets of the Fallowfield Hunt, Bluemarket Races, Harefield Harriers and Cottesbrook Hunt prints brought him much popularity. This was enhanced by his ever expanding book and magazine illustrative work. In the late 1900’s Aldin moved to the Henley area as his interest in hunting, horses and dogs increased and in 1910 he became Master of the South Berkshire Hunt as well as being associated with other local packs.During the First World War Cecil Aldin was in charge of an Army Remount Depot where he became a friend of Lionel Edwards, Alfred Munnings G.D. Armour and Cedric Morris. Sadly he lost his son, Dudley at Vimy Ridge in 1917, which affected him deeply for many years and had a profound effect of his style of work.After the war Aldin spent much of his time organising pony and dog shows, particularly in Exmoor, where he followed the Devon and Somerset Staghounds. In the 1920’s he added further prints of hunting scenes to create a series of "The Hunting Countries" as well as concentrating on his ever popular studies of his own and visiting dogs, making famous his own Irish Wolfhound and Bull Terrier – Cracker and Mickey. He did in fact have a Dog Visitors Book! He had a collection of over 2000 part sketches of dogs (done on the spur of the moment when an eye or a paw was caught in a certain position) which he used as a reference when he was doing his wonderful dog illustrations. He also produced a series of prints depicting Old Inns, Old Manor Houses and Cathedrals.

In 1930 Cecil Aldin had to go and live in a warmer climate due to serious attacks of arthritis but he continued to paint and etch, producing some of his best work. He died in London of a heart attack in January 1935 on a short trip back home.