Alan Sorrell

Alan Ernest Sorrell was an English artist and writer, best remembered for his archaeological illustrations. He was a Senior Assistant Instructor of Drawing at The Royal College of Art, between 1931–39 and 1946–48.

Sorrell was born in London and moved to Essex, at the age of two. The most part of his childhood was spent confined to a bath chair due to a suspected heart condition. Sorrell was trained at the Southend municipal school of art and, after a brief spell as a commercial artist in London, he attended The Royal College of Art between (1924–1927). Whilst there, he met William Rothenstein whom would act as a mentor and became a close friend. In 1928, Sorrell won the British Prix de Rome and spent the next three years at the British School at Rome.

He returned to England in 1931 and became drawing master at The Royal College of Art. He began his archaeological reconstruction drawings before the war. During World War II, Sorrell worked in the Royal Air Force in 1940, and then was transferred to the Air Ministry in 1941, applying his artistic skill to help camouflage aerodromes. He also created artworks of air force life in his spare time as well as commissions from the British official war artists Commission of RAF airfields and runway construction.

After the war, his archaeological work took up more and more of his time with commissions from archaeologists. Public awareness of his work was increased by his prolific output and his many publications. Throughout this post-war period, Sorrell still found time for his more imaginative work. The titles were often evocative, such as The Fallen Emperors, The Stone Men and The Dark Tower. A strong characteristic of these paintings is, according to Alan Sorrell, "a sense of the decay of a noble past, and this and their treatment, in its starkness and drama, links them inevitably with his archaeological drawings". He died in 1974.

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