Philip Connard, RA, papers

RA Collection: Archive

Archive context

Showing item 12 of 73 in this group

Reference code



Philip Connard, RA, papers





Extent & medium

239 pieces

Previous reference codes


Historical Background

Born in Southport, March 25th 1875, the son of David Connard. He was given a minimum of state schooling and joined the building trade as a house painter. His natural abilities and personal inclination led him to take up evening classes and from there to the South Kensington National Art Training School, having been awarded a scholarship.

On qualification he attempted to study in Paris before running out of funds and returning to London. His first professional post was as master of the Lambeth School of Art, this position provided him with security of means and he began to submit work to open exhibitions.

His earliest successes were with the New English Art Club and the friendship of Henry Tonks and P. Wilson Steer led to his election.

Connard enlisted for artillery service in the the first world war, seeing action at the Somme before being discharged as unfit for front line duties. He was employed as a navy war artist and was also involved in the camouflage initiatives of the Royal Academy during the second world war.

Connard was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1918 and it was only at this point that he began to exhibit in the summer exhibition. In 1925 he was elected to the full membership and served as Keeper from 1945 to 1949.

Connard worked in oils, but showed great interest in the watercolour medium from the mid-part of his career. He was noted in particular for his decorative work and secured several important commissions, most significantly that of decorating the Queen's Dolls House room of Windsor Castle. Connard's solo exhibitions were held predominantly at Barbizon House. His style showed a complete absence of modernist influences and his attitudes to the avant garde were allied to those of Sir Alfred Munnings. His resignation as Keeper in 1949 could be regarded as an act of solidarity with the out-going President.

Connard was twice married. his first wife, Mary, died in 1927. He remarried in 1933 to Georgina Yorke, who figures in many of his later paintings. He was appointed C.V.O. in 1950 and died in 1958.

Content Description

The archive forms a remnant of papers possessed by Connard at his death. Although not by any means a complete personal archive the divisions within the material do reflect on various aspects of this artist's life.

Early correspondence gives a clear picture of Connard's experiences during his war service in a few short but intense months during the battle of the Somme, 1916.

Other series of letters concentrate on his work at Windsor Castle on the Queen's Dolls House room and on his election and subsequent resignation as Keeper of the Royal Academy schools.

A larger series of letters cover more miscellaneous matters, with a preponderence of congratulatory letters for one man shows at the Leicester Galleries and Barbizon House.


The archive remained in the hands of family descendants until shortly before acquisition by the Royal Academy.

Acquisition Details

The archive was purchased for £300 from Richard Ford, booksellers, in January 1998.


The archive has been arranged chronologically within series approximating to file divisions present on acquisition.