PERKINS, Christopher Edward

1891 - 1968

Christopher Perkins

As Edward Christopher Perkins, he was born at Park Road, Peterborough on 21 September 1891, second son of John Edward Sharman Perkins, mechanical engineer, and his wife Margaret Charlotte née Long, who married a Biggleswade, Bedfordshire in 1888. Christopher studied at Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk before proceeding to Heatherley School of Art, spending 1908 in Rome, then attended Slade School of Fine Art. He married at St Pancras, London on 1 April 1914, Agnes Berry Shaw (born 26 May 1888) by which time he had commenced his career as a landscape and portrait painter but, in the same year, joined the British army in the First World War, rising to the rank of acting captain and on demobilisation came to live in Sudbury, Suffolk. He returned to painting, and in the 1920s he and his family lived in France and, with his work becoming known, in 1925, although recommended by Roger Fry (1866-1934) and William Rothenstein (1872-1945), failed to obtain a teaching position in Cape Town. He held a major, but unsuccessful, exhibition in London in 1927 but in January 1929 took a teaching post at the Wellington Technical College in New Zealand. In 1932 he let his contract lapse when he moved to Rotorua, where the availability of Maori subjects was an attraction and he exhibited regularly with the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts 1929-1933 then held a substantial exhibition in Sydney, Australia, important works included 'Silverstream Brickworks' (1930), 'Taranaki' (1931), 'Activity on the Wharf' (1931), 'Meditation' (1931) and 'Haka, Maori Meeting' (193234). Perkins returned to England in February 1934 and in 1939 was an artist living at St Johns Studio, Harley Road, Hampstead with his wife Agnes. He again served in the army during the Second World War and also worked as an unofficial war artist. He achieved a reputation as a portrait painter, showing pictures at the London Salon, the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, the Royal Academy and the Royal Institute of Painters 1914-1940, from London 1914 and 1937, Sudbury, Suffolk 1919, St Aubin, Jersey 1929 and Southwold, Suffolk in 1940, where he had purchased a cottage at the bottom of South Green (now called Bolt Hole) but he never attained the leading position that he had had in New Zealand. He died at his home 7 Dalton Road, Ipswich on 8 April 1968. He had three children including Juliet Berry Laden [q.v.]. He published an essay 'On Museums' (1925).





Works by This Painter