Sir William Rothenstein


Rothenstein’s home at 1 Pembroke Cottages, 1950
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Name:Sir William Rothenstein

Dates:1872 - 1945


Address: 1 Pembroke Cottages, Edwardes Square, W8

Dates at address:1899 - 1902


Bradford-born painter Rothenstein was trained at Slade School of Fine Art and the Académie Julian in Paris. Popular, witty and sociable he attracted friends wherever he went. He married Alice Knewstub, better known as actress Alice Kingsley, in 1899. They had four children, including Sir John Rothenstein Director of the Tate Gallery.

A conservative artist and member of the New English Art Club, he mainly painted portraits. His works include his sketches of contemporary celebrities called Oxford Characters, paintings of Jewish religious practices and being official war artist in both World Wars. An opponent of Impressionism, he fought regularly with the other New English Art Club members and the Royal Academy. This led to him resigning from the first and refusing to join the second. In 1910 he helped create the India Society in London to fight against the Royal Society’s anti-Indian sentiment. He also served as Chair of Civic Art at Sheffield University in 1917 and as Principal at the Royal College of Art in 1920. His books were also popular.

Rothenstein moved to Kensington from Paris after his marriage. Here he had a wide collection of friends, including Whistler who nicknamed him the Parson. It was also where his son John was born in 1901.

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