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John Austen RBA (1886-1948)

John Austen, RBA (1886-1948)
Early influenced by the work of Aubrey Beardsley, John Austen developed into an illustrator of wit and elegance by the mid 1920s, producing unusually decorative images that are associated with Art Deco. Both craftsman and auto-didact, he mastered a range of media, including etching and wood-engraving, and absorbed a variety of styles and motifs.
John Austen was born in Buckland, near Dover, Kent, on 5 January 1886. The second child of a carpenter, he too trained as a carpenter on leaving school. However, in 1906, he moved to London, determined to become an artist, and initially took Aubrey Beardsley as his model. His studies were supplemented by life classes, and relieved by amateur dramatics.

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