Neil said a while ago that, “It would be good to find some kind of biography of the man whose life spanned from Victorian times into the modern era”. Well thanks to Laurence, I managed to find some fascinating information......
Arnold Victor Beauvais was born in Catford on the 13th April 1886. He was the third child of the French artist Charles Henri Beauvais. His father, born in Marseille in 1864, was also a talented painter, who after training in Paris came to England in 1882 where he met and married an English girl, Anne Corfield. This happy union produced four sons and two daughters.
Arnold Beauvais commenced his art training in 1900. He worked in his father’s commercial studio, on lithographic and poster design, during the day and studied art in the evenings at the Bolt Court Art School in Fleet Street.
In 1903 Charles Beauvais left England and returned to his native France and opened a commercial studio in Marseille. Arnold Beauvais took this opportunity to further his art studies and spent sixteen months in Paris. He then rejoined his family in Marseille and started to work once again with his father.
Charles Beauvais died in 1911 and Arnold Beauvais took over the management of the studio for the next two years. In 1913 he returned to London, rented a Studio in Chancery Lane and produced Artwork for a wide range of clients – J. Lyons, R.K.O., Radio Pictures, Black & White Whisky, Warner Bros., Walt Disney Co., Younger’s Scotch Ales and many more- which meant drawing everything from Film Posters and Magazine illustrations to Press Adverts, Cartoons and Jigsaw puzzles.
The work for the film distributors included posters and general publicity for such famous films as, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Swiss Family Robinson, Up In Arms and all the subsequent Danny Kaye films, Snow White, Bambi, Treasure Island, Robin Hood, Alice in Wonderland, Hans Anderson, Peter Pan and a host of Walt Disney nature films. The success of this work inevitably led to the illustrations in the associated ‘book of the films’ produced by Collins of Glasgow.
His involvement with the film world commenced in the mid-thirties and lasted for two decades. During this period a highly successful series of caricatures were produced for the magazine – Film Weekly. These caricatures of film stars were produced by the then relatively untried ‘air brush’ technique. He also originated one of the most successful advertising campaigns produced before the Second World War. His series of ‘Where’s George?’ advertisements for Lyons created a tremendous interest at the time and are still remembered by people almost forty years later.
But Arnold Beauvais’s talents ranged far beyond the realms of art. His career as a free-lance commercial artist enabled him not only to paint for pleasure but also to devote time to his other main love – music. In fact his success as an n opera singer during the 1920’s eventually forced him to make a choice between a full- time career as an artist or a singer when he combined commitments became excessive.
As a singer he made his debut at the Old Vic playing the part of Fernando in Il Trovatore. The quality and range of his bass voice together with his acting ability led him to play the leading roles in many of the classic operatic standards such as: - The Magic Flute, Don Giovann, Rigoletto, Aida, Lohengrin, Faust, Carmen, and about a dozen other operas.
It was during this time with the Old Vic opera company that he designed the famous poster for the appeal fund to raise £30,000 to renovate the fabric of the building. During the 1930’s he taught at the Bolt Court Art School where he himself had studied, more than thirty years earlier.
In 1956 Arnold Beauvais reduced his commercial art commitments in order to devote more time to his oil paintings. He was made a Member of the London Sketch Club in 1929 and elected President in 1936 later he became Life President.
Arnold died in 1982.