Category Archives: Drawings by Robert Austen Wartime Artist

Robert Austen

Robert Austin was an etcher from Leicester, who specialised in life drawing. During the Second World War, Austin was appointed as an Official War Artist. He was based in Ambleside in Cumbria with the Royal College of Art.

While based in Cumbria, Austen produced many charcoal drawings of nurses and fighter pilots, also recording the work of the female forces, particularly the roles of the Woman Auxiliary Airforce, the Woman Royal Navy Service and the Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service.  He also designed a series of posters depicting heroic British leaders for London Underground entitled ‘Our Heritage’, ‘to recall other occasions of the Nation’s will and high purpose’. He was made a Royal Academician in 1949.

One of his most famous commissions, however, was designing the new Ten Shilling and One Pound notes issued in 1960.

In Silloth, the University of the 3rd Age gained permission to use Robert Austen’s drawing for the publication RAF Siloth: Wartime Memories of the Men and Women who knew the airfield at Silloth when it was operational (ed Maggie Clowes). Here are the etchings used in the publication:

Robert Austen War Etchings Used in RAF Silloth booklet (ed. Maggie Clowes)