In celebration of Bath in Fashion 2016, we have teamed up with London's Abbott and Holder gallery to present an exhibit of Brian Stonehouse's 1970s New York era illustrations. The British painter Brian Stonehouse served as a spy during World War II and later became a fashion illustrator for American Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, and Elizabeth Arden among many other clients. Stonehouse, who studied art in Ipswich, was a member of Britain’s Special Operations Executive, a body charged with conducting espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe. Disguised as a French art student, Stonehouse was fluent in the language, he helped to expose German action in France.
After the conflict, Stonehouse moved to New York. There, he focused on portraiture and fashion illustration. He became a society portraitist and began working for Vogue in 1952 as an illustrator. Jessica Daves, the editor of Vogue, believed that fashion was best told through a mixture of illustrations and photography. Stonehouse was the first fashion illustrator to be hired at Vogue in 10 years, going on to work at the magazine during the so-called "Golden Age". When Daves left Vogue in the 1960s, Diana Vreeland took the helm, replacing illustration with photography, which she firmly believed to be the future.
Stonehouse left Vogue in 1962 and went on to forge strong relationships with Harpers Bazaar, Elizabeth Arden, and Saks Fifth Avenue, producing illustrations for several advertising campaigns. During the 1970s, he began to experiment with the shape of his drawings and evolved with the times. In 1979, Stonehouse moved back the United Kingdom and worked mainly in portraiture. He lived an extraordinary life and we're privileged to be able to share his works with you during Bath in Fashion.