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Randolph Schwabe, RWS LG NEAC (1885-1948), was both a student of the Slade School of Fine Art (1900-5) and its Professor in successor to Henry Tonks (1930-1948). In the years between, he established himself as
a painter, printmaker, illustrator, and especially draughtsman, and was elected to the membership of the New English Art Club in 1917, among other societies. As Slade Professor, he followed Tonks’ initiative by concentrating on imparting the skill of drawing (while giving responsibility for the teaching of painting to his friend, Allan Gwynne-Jones).
The present caricature by Powys Evans (who studied under Tonks at the Slade) shows that, though Schwabe generally had a reputation for being serious and scholarly, he could also be something of a dandy, almost in the vein of the Fin de Siècle. He may have cultivated a particular attention to his appearance during the 1920s, while he was working with Cyril Beaumont and Francis Kelly on such books as Kelly’s Historic Costume, which was published in 1925, two years after Evans produced this caricature. Schwabe continued to carry a malacca cane throughout his life, and referred to it in his diaries. For instance, on 12 July 1934, he wrote, ‘Tate Gallery in the afternoon, after fetching my long malacca from Smiths, with the new top made by Haussen in High Street, St Giles’s’ (Gill Clarke (ed), The Diaries of Randolph Schwabe: British Art 1930-48, Bristol: Sansom & Co, 2016, page 172).