Stephen Ongpin Fine Art
A prolific landscape watercolourist, etcher and lithographer, S. R. Badmin studied at the Camberwell School of Art and the Royal College of Art. After graduating in 1928, he began to establish a reputation for his landscape watercolours and etchings, and earned his first one-man exhibition in London in 1930. In 1931 he was elected to the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers, and the following year, at the age of twenty-six, became one of the youngest Associate members of the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolours. At the exhibition of the Society in April 1932, the first to which he contributed, Badmin’s work was singled out for particular praise by several reviewers, one of whom noted that ‘The most interesting drawings in this show are provided by S.R. Badmin, a young etcher who uses line with almost an etcher’s delicacy and precision. Badmin is almost miniaturist in the fineness of his work he packs into a small picture area, but in spite of all this wealth of beautifully designed detail, he contrives, with the aid of washes of tender colour, to preserve a seemly order in all his drawings.’ Badmin enjoyed a second successful London gallery exhibition in 1933, this time at the Fine Art Society. A review of the exhibition noted of the artist that ‘the most wonderful thing about his work is that, while he is scrupulous – but not over-scrupulous – in his precise drawing of minute detail, he contrives to combine this quality with breadth and simplicity of effect.’
Badmin is best known for his watercolour landscapes; charming and affectionate depictions of the English countryside. As one recent author has noted of Badmin, ‘his craft has been based on hard work and experience, and his talent on a love for and deep knowledge of the British countryside.’ In the 1940’s and 1950’s he illustrated a number of books on pastoral or topographical themes, notably Village and Town and Trees in Britain, published in 1939 and 1942 respectively, and The British Countryside in Colour, which appeared in 1951. Badmin also contributed to the Shell Guide to Trees and Shrubs, published in 1958. Among his other commercial projects were designs for Shell posters depicting the various counties of England, as well as covers and illustrations for Reader’s Digest and Radio Times magazines, advertising images, calendars, and designs for over a hundred greeting cards.