Henry Collins

Nationality: British

Dates: b. 1910-d. 1994

Henry Collins was born in Colchester in 1910 and during a long career as artist and educator he was integral to Colchester’s development as an artistic hub. He trained at the Colchester School of Art and the Central School, London. During the Second World War he served with the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers. Early commercial work included a 1935 poster design for the London Underground and in 1951 he was commissioned for a series of designs and murals for the Festival of Britain, he worked on these with his wife and fellow artist Joyce Pallot whom he had met at Colchester School of Art and married in 1938. The 1951 Festival of Britain generated an appetite for public art and murals, throughout the 1970s Joyce and Henry were commissioned to produce a large number of public works, they collaborated to devise an original method to produce concrete relief murals, these ornamented buildings and underpasses in Colchester and elsewhere in the U.K. and further afield, with commissions from America, Japan and Belgium. The couple also collaborated in commercial design for companies including Max Factor, Kodak and the GPO.

Henry Collins combined his mural work and painting with teaching, at the St Martin’s School of Art and Colcheter School of Art, in 1946 he was a co-founder, together with Cedric Morris and John Nash, of the Colchester Art Society. Auction results for Henry’s work have been on an upward trajectory for the past decade, with several record prices established in recent Reeman Dansie East Anglian Art sales, including £2,500 for ‘Crowing Cock’ a 1946 oil on board sold in April 2019.