Bayes, Walter

(1869 - 1956)

Born in St Pancras, London to an artistic family, Bayes studied at the Westminster School of Art.  By the beginning of the 20th century he had established himself as one of Britain's leading illustrators and had exhibited several paintings at the Royal Academy.  Bayes was member of the Allied Artists Association and the Camden Town Art Group. He was also the art critic of The Athenaeum (1906-1916).  In 1917 the head of the government's War Propaganda Bureau recruited Bayes to paint pictures of the Home Front. This included The Underworld, a painting of the Elephant and Castle Underground Station.  After the Armistice Bayes became head of the Westminster School of Art and held the post for sixteen. Walter Bayes died in 1956.

He was known as “the academic painter” and an admirable teacher and art critic. His paintings often seem carefully constructed with attention to composition, perspective and the integration of figures into the overall design. He continued to paint and exhibit throughout his lifetime, holding several solo exhibitions. He was also a founder member of the London Group.