STONEHOUSE, Brian Julian Warry

1918 - 1998

Brian Stonehouse

Born at Torquay, Devon on 29 August 1918, shortly after his birth his family moved to France where Brian went to school at Wimereux, Pas-de-Calais. They returned to England in 1930 settling in Stowmarket, Suffolk and Brian studied art at Ipswich Art School. Brian obtained work on 'The Vogue' magazine mainly drawing ladies underwear but on the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the Territorial Army and later conscripted into the Royal Artillery. In 1940 he worked as an interpreter for French troops in Glasgow who had been evacuated from Norway and in the autumn of 1941, when training for a commission in the 121 Officer Cadet Unit, the Special Operations Executive contacted him and, due to his fluency in French, SOE recruited him as a wireless operator with code name of Celestin. On 1 July 1941, Stonehouse was parachuted into occupied France and, together with another agent, Blanche Charlet, made contact with the other SOE agents and made regular contact with London but was arrested by the Germans in Chateau Hurlevent near Lyon on 24 October 1941. In 1944 he was transferred to the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp in Alsace, where he did life by drawing sketches for the camp commandant, guards and their families, but was sent to the Dachau concentration camp until liberated by U.S. troops on 29 April 1945. After the war awarded a military MBE, remaining in the military for a few months and was a captain working for the Allied Control Commission in Frankfurt, Germany assisting with interrogation of Gestapo and SS members. After 1946, Stonehouse continued his career as a fashion artist in the United States, painting for magazines such as 'Vogue', 'Harper's Bazaar' and 'Elizabeth Arden' but in 1979 he returned to the UK and became a portrait painter with clients such as members of the Royal family. One of his last portraits was of The Queen Mother, which still hangs in the Special Forces Club in London. During his final years Stonehouse was an active Theosophist living at the London branch of the United Lodge of Theosophists. He died on 2 December 1998. Moyse's Hall Museum Bury St Edmunds discovered and facilitated the handing over of his collections following a 'Victory in Europe Day' and Victory in Japan day exhibition, to which the family had bought Brian's art and other personal artefacts.




Works by This Painter