Artist biography

Malcolm Drummond c.1925
Malcolm Drummond c.1925
Courtesy of the McIntyre family
Malcolm Drummond, born on 24 May 1880, was the son of an Anglican vicar, and grew up at Boyne Hill, near Maidenhead in Berkshire (figs.1 and 2). His schooling was undertaken at a preparatory school in Henley and the Oratory School in Birmingham. An academically promising student he graduated in 1902 with a degree in history from Christ Church, Oxford, and seemed set to follow a secure career as an estate manager for Lord Feversham of Duncombe Park in Yorkshire. Throughout his studies, however, Drummond had indulged his passions for music and painting and in 1903 made the brave decision to abandon his job after only a year and commit his life to art. He commenced his training at the Slade School, studying there for four years, and then took classes at the Westminster School of Art. Like so many other students who passed through that institution, he was taught by the man who was to have the most significant influence on his development as an artist, Walter Richard Sickert. In 1910 the thirty-year-old Drummond became one of the first pupils at Sickert’s new art school, Rowlandson House. Little of his painting is known from before this time and since his works are rarely dated, his precise development is difficult to establish.
Malcolm Drummond 'Self-Portrait' c.1908–11
Malcolm Drummond
Self-Portrait c.1908–11
Private collection
© Estate of Malcolm Drummond
Photo © Christie’s Images Limited 2011
In 1910 Drummond exhibited at Frank Rutter’s Allied Artists’ Association, and thus became absorbed into the gatherings and activities of the Fitzroy Street Group, which he recorded in an oil painting, 19 Fitzroy Street c.1913–14 (Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle).1 He was an intelligent, sociable addition to the group and remained on particularly friendly terms with Sickert throughout his life. Like his former teacher he enjoyed intellectual debate and as well as being a prolific letter-writer, he contributed a regular column to the Scotsman on a variety of subjects. He also built up close friendships with the Bevans, Spencer Gore and with Charles Ginner whose portrait he painted in 1911 (Southampton City Art Gallery).2 When the decision was taken to form the Camden Town Group in the same year, it was Ginner who proposed Drummond for membership.3 Drummond exhibited at all three Camden Town Group exhibitions in 1911–12. He also submitted work to the Salon des Indépendants, Paris, in 1913 and subsequently joined the London Group as a founder-member, exhibiting with them regularly in 1913–32, and holding the post of treasurer in 1921.

Nicola Moorby
May 2003