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CODNOR, John Whitlock Orby Squires, RWA.* PDF Print E-mail

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Born June 1913 in Beaconsfield. His father, Maurice Codner, was an extremely successful `Society painter`. His sitters included King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. He was an Honorary member of the Bristol Savages. John was educated at St. Edward`s School, Oxford and at the London Polytechnic under Harry Watson. As an artist, like his father, he excels at portrait painting, but also at still life, especially with flowers. More recently he has enjoyed painting land and seascapes. His well known portraits include the late Duke of Beaufort (3 times). Amongst his Savage sitters are Frank Mole, John Eberle, Charlie Thomas and Norman Parker. He always paints in oils; watercolours, he says, are too difficult. He was elected to the RWA in 1937 and joined the Bristol Savages later the same year. At the outbreak of War in 1939 he joined up and served in the Light Aircraft Defence of Bristol. In 1940 he gained a commission in the RE specialising in camouflage. In 1940 he was posted to the Middle East and served in the Western Desert, later moving to Palestine and the Lebanon. He was involved in the landings in Sicily, then at Messina on the toe of Italy and finally at Anzio. From there he moved up with the invading armies as far as Alpine Austria. There, having served 5 years overseas, he was repatriated in 1945 and demobilised a few months later. He was a Staff Captain and had been “Mentioned in Despatches”. He has exhibited at the Royal Academy and at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. When asked about his views on modem Art he “wonders whether or not it has reached Rock Bottom”. He met his wife Jane, a Bristol girl, when she was a student at the Sir John Cass Technical Institute, where he taught just after the War. In his youth he used to hunt with the Essex and Suffolk hounds whose territory was around Dedham in Constable country and where he was largely brought up. Of their two sons the elder, Stephen, is a freelance artist living in London who paints `everything`. The other son, William, works in the oil industry, mainly in the North Sea. He, with his brother in law the late Peter Forbes in the late sixties, started a charity called CARE for the mentally handicapped which has done much good work and is still going strong. (J.W.C./M.G.W.)