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Professor W. Blair-Bell (1871–1936), Chairman of the Foundation Committee (1925–1929), First President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (1929–1931)
© the artist's estate. Photo credit: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Painter, draughtsman, printmaker and restorer, born in Aberdeen, Scotland. After showing much promise in art at Gordon’s College, Aberdeen, he attended Gray’s School of Art there. A travelling scholarship allowed him to work extensively on the continent, where Velázquez, Chardin and Vermeer, especially, much impressed him. During World War I served as non-combatant in Royal Medical Corps, then married and moved to London. By this time he had established himself as an RA exhibitor, and in the period after the war he made a name as a portrait painter, his subjects including stage personalities such as Ivor Novello, Gladys Cooper and Fay Compton as well as notables in public and academic life. In 1926 Souter’s picture The Breakdown caused a stir at RA, depicting a negro jazz musician, a naked white girl dancer and a broken classic statue.

Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)


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