In October 1917, The Tatler announced it would be featuring a series of portraits by the artist, Lieutenant Thomas Percival Anderson. Anderson, who was serving as an officer in the Royal Army Service Corps, had been born in York in 1885. He studied at York School of Art, Frazer College of Arbroath and in Paris after which he worked primarily as a portrait painter of, as The Tatler enthused, 'beautiful women.' A handful of Anderson's oil portraits can be viewed at the BBC Your Paintings website here http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/artists/thomas-percival-anderson
His series for magazine concentrated instead on senior staff of the British Army and other prominent personalities attached to the War Office. We have so far found around twenty of Anderson's pictures in the magazine, though there may yet be more. Considering the fine quality of the pencil portraits, it is remarkable that there is very little biographical detail about this talented artist. Certainly, he must have been well-known enough in his day - The Tatler even featured a photograph of him in his uniform.
His sitters include General Sir Nevil Macready (1862-1946), who as adjutant-general of the British expeditionary force was responsible for registering graves and the burial of the dead, activity that was to lead to the establishment of what is now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Macready was also a fervent advocate of the deployment of women in the workforce.
There is also Lieutenant-General Sir Francis Lloyd (1853-1926), who as General Officer Commanding the London District was responsible for the defence of the capital from Zeppelin attack. A particuarly jovial portrait is that of the railway expert, Sir Sam Fay, who was director of movements at the War Office from January 1917 to March 1918, then director-general of movements and railways, and a member of the army council.
The founder of the British Legion, Major-General Sir Frederick Barton Maurice is another sitter and one of three female portraits we have found is Lady Londonderry, formerly Edith Chaplin. Lady Londonderry, who was made Dame of the British Empire, was President of the Women's War Services Legion, providing cooks and drivers to the Army and particularly specialising in economical mass catering.
Anderson's excellent portraits serve to remind us of the vast and complicated network of administrative departments and organisations underpinning and augmenting the British armed services during the First World War.
We'd be delighted to hear from anyone with more information on the artist's life and work. To see more portraits, follow the link below: