BECKER, Harry Otto

1865 - 1928

Harry Becker

Born at 8 Eld Lane, Colchester, Essex in October 1865, youngest of four sons of the seven children of Dr Charles Otto Gustavus Becker (1827-1910), a doctor of medicine, and his wife Henrietta Margaret von Schuber (1835-1903), who were born in Germany and naturalised English. Dr Becker was on the staff of Ottoman general, Omar Pasha, in the Crimean War (1853-1856) during which time his eldest son Charles T. Becker (1856-1942) was born in Hesse, Germany in 1856 after which the young couple came to Colchester where they married in 1857. At the age of 14, Harry enrolled in the Royal Academy Schools in Antwerp and in 1884 finished his training in the Paris studio of Charles Auguste Émile Durand, known as Carolus-Duran (1837-1917), a portrait painter. He then returned, with the support of his father, to a studio at Valley Farm, Flatford, East Bergholt, Suffolk and from 1886 until 1894 Becker lived with his parents at The Minories, Colchester. He then moved to London where he had a studio until 1913, during which time he made various trips to East Anglia, Kent and Holland and was a member of Ipswich Fine Art Club 1890-1928. He married in 1902, Georgina Mary Waddington, a 35 year old artist when living at 71 Dieppe Road, Fulham and from 1913 they lived in rented accommodation at Old Hall Farm, later at 'Sunnyside', then at the Old Vicarage, all in Wenhaston, Suffolk, they were in very poor circumstances, relying on Georgina’s small income from her position teaching art at a local school. About 1926 they moved to the highly named Hinton Lodge, a remote farm cottage at Darsham, Suffolk where he remained until his death. Harry produced a series of posters for London Underground and his work was obsessive, producing thousands of drawings in pencil, charcoal, red chalk, or pen and ink. He exhibited at the Alpine Club Gallery, Birmingham Royal Society of Artists, Beaux Art Gallery, Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, Coupil Gallery, Liverpool Walker Art Gallery, London Salon, Manchester City Art Gallery, New Gallery, Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Royal Academy, Royal Society of British Artists, Redfern Gallery, Royal Hibernian Academy, Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colour and the Royal Scottish Academy, his exhibits at the Royal Academy included ‘Sixty miles to London’ 1889 and ‘A Clover Field-Evening’ 1897. He died at Ipswich Hospital on 10 September 1928, aged 62. His wife and daughter were then taken 'under the wing' of the Loftus family [q.v.] at Southwold. Georgina Becker died in 1957, aged 81.




Works by This Painter