Photo credit: IWM (Imperial War Museums)
Painter, illustrator, artist in collage and murals, draughtsman and teacher, born in Scarborough, Yorkshire. Studied at Ruskin School of Drawing, Oxford, under Albert Rutherston, 1930–4, and at Slade School of Fine Art, 1934–5, with Randolph Schwabe. During World War II participated in Pilgrim Trust Recording Britain project and was an Official War Artist. Had first one-man exhibition at Leicester Galleries in 1946, others following at Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Zwemmer Gallery, New Art Centre, Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne, with a retrospective at Hatton Gallery there in 1980. In 1992 an Oriel 31 Davies Memorial Gallery, Newtown, retrospective toured. Hatton Gallery held another show in 2003. Group shows included NEAC, AIA and RSW.
Became a member of Society of Mural Painters in 1943, taught mural painting at Royal College of Art for 10 years from 1948 and received a Ford Foundation Grant to visit America in 1959. From 1959–80 was professor of fine art at Newcastle University. In 1948 illustrated A Prospect of Wales. Murals completed include those for Barclay School, Stevenage, 1946, RMS Orsova and Iberia, 1954, and British Pavilion at Brussels International Exhibition in 1958. Tate Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum and WAC are among many public owners of his work. Rowntree’s pictures reflect the genial and witty nature of the artist, usually being landscapes and townscapes in which the elements have a toy-like neatness and familiar notations are employed. Did some abstract work. Sometimes just signed work K R. Lived at Corbridge, Northumberland.
Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)