Ruskin Spear, CBE, RA (30 June 1911 – 17 January 1990) was an English painter.
Born in Hammersmith, Spear attended the local art school before going on to the Royal College of Art in 1930. He began his teaching career at Croydon School of Art, going on to teach at the Royal College of Art from 1948 to 1975.
Initially influenced by Sickert and the Camden Town Group, and the portraiture of the Euston Road School, his work often has a narrative quality, with elements of humour and gentle satire.
One of Britain’s best loved artists of the twentieth century, Spear was a towering genius in the art of narrative painting and because he used a wheelchair due to childhood polio, much of his work focused on his immediate surroundings. He rendered the citizens, (both human and feline) of Hammersmith relaxing in and around the local pubs, theatres and shops.
A retrospective of Spear’s work was held at the Royal Academy in 1980. His work is represented in the Tate Gallery Collection.
A large number of Spear’s paintings are held in important public collections, including the Government Art Collection, Arts Council England, National Portrait Gallery, Imperial War Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts.
He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1979.
Spear’s Grandson, Tim is currently developing a website dedicated to his Granfather’s life and work. It can be found here at ruskinspear.com