Charles Ernest Cundall

(1890 - 1971)

“Race Day, Ascot”

Signed, lower left: Charles Cundall

Oil on canvas
16 x 24 in – 40.6 x 61 cm
Frame size
21½ x 29¼ in – 54.6 x 74.3 cm


Tel.: +44 (0)20 7839 7693


Private collection, UK


Charles Ernest Cundall was one of the more distinguished painters of the 20th century, a mainstay of the Royal Academy, exhibiting each and every year from 1923-1970.

He was born 6th September 1890 in Stretford near Manchester in Lancashire. Initially Cundall was employed as a designer of pottery and stained glass at the Pilkington Pottery Company. Subsequently he studied at the Manchester School of Art and was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London. Cundall’s studies were interrupted by the First World War during which he served with the Royal Fusiliers, 1914-1917, before being badly wounded. On his recovery he returned to study at the RCA and then at the Slade School of art, 1919-1920, before further studies in Paris. He held his first one man exhibition in 1927 at Colnaghi’s.

Cundall travelled and exhibited widely, at the Royal Academy from 1918, at the New English Arts Club, to which he was elected a member in 1924, at the Royal Watercolour Society to which he was elected an associate in 1936 and a member in 1941, at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, elected a member in 1933 and in provincial galleries. Cundall was elected a Royal Academician in 1944. In 1940 he was appointed an official artist to the Air Ministry and as such produced a series of works painted ‘For the Nation’s War Records’ e.g. “Servicing a Sunderland, Battle of Britain Anniversary 1943” and many others.

Cundall had travelled widely from the 1920’s frequently to France, Normandy, Brittany and the South, in the 1930’s to Sweden and Russia and in the 1940’s to the United States, France and Italy. Cundall, both pre- and post-war was very much an establishment artist of record. He portrayed Royal occasions, visits to Paris and the Royal family’s departure for South Africa in 1947; major sporting events, a test match at Lords, The Derby, Chelsea v Arsenal. He painted The Coronation of 1954, civic building projects and portraits. He was also a prolific and highly successful painter of town scenes and landscapes, views in London, throughout England, Ireland and much of Europe and views in New York, Boston and Quebec.

Cundall lived in Chelsea from 1918 until his death in 1971, an inveterate traveller, and a highly successful painter in oils and watercolour.

His works can be found in museums in: London, Tate Britain, Imperial War Museum, Maritime Museum; Manchester, City Art Gallery; New Brunswick; Ottawa National Gallery of Canada.

Charles Ernest Cundall