Monday, January 18, 2021

The Art of Lord Robert Baden Powell

Two years ago this month, Rick and I were in Dallas for his mom's birthday. We took time to visit the National Scouting Museum, then located in Irving, Texas. One of the exhibits that fascinated me featured the art of Lord Robert Baden-Powell.

 

Powell served in the British Army but for others around the world he is best known as the founder of the world-wide Scouting movement, first the Boy Scouts and then with his sister Agnes, of the Girl Guide and Girl Scout movement. He also wrote the first editions of "Scouting for Boys." 

 

What people may not realize about Baden-Powell was that he was a remarkable artist who painted almost every day from his childhood. His father was an amateur artist as was his grandmother and he came by it naturally and with support. 

 

He had an interesting style, shifting his brush from one hand to the other with little change in style or skill. He worked in pen and ink doing advance sketches for his paintings. He spent many of is later years in Africa and many of his paintings reflect this. 

 

Baden-Powell's first British Army commission sent him to India. 


His letters home included stories of the people and sites he observed and they were liberally illustrated with images describing the scenes. He was also an avid art journalist -- long before art journaling became a "thing."

 

He also received an invitation from The Graphic, a newspaper offering payment for his sketches from the front. 

 

Baden-Powell was an avid traveler, both through his Army commissions and independently. His travels took him to Switzerland...


Greece...


....and to Canada.

 

Some of his work was done while touring Tunis and Algeria. He wrote many books and often his later works focused on African themes.

 


In 1910, he retired from the army organized the scouting movement. When girls appeared at the first Scout rally in 1909, they told him they were "Girl Scouts."  He and his sister then formed the Girl Guides, which evolved into Girl Scouts in some areas of the world. 

 

When Baden-Powell retired in 1937, he and his wife, Olave, whom he had married in 1912, moved to Nyeri, Kenya, where he died and was buried in 1941.

 

I wonder what he would  think of recent controversies in the Scouting world. I know that being an Eagle Scout was a big part of Rick's growth and development and always spoke highly of the movement.


 I'm so glad I was able to see this collection before the Scouting Museum in Irving closed. Powell's art is a wonderful example of both watercolor work and journaling...


...and certainly an inspiration.

Sharing with:     Pink Saturday     /     Timeless Thursdays    

56 comments:

Prims By The Water said...

What an awesome collection. Thanks for sharing this wonderful artist with us. So sad about the Boy Scouts. Janice

Sketchbook Wandering said...

Those are high qualityl paintings/sketches! Thanks for sharing them. Did the museum close due to covid? Will his work be seen somewhere else?
Are the controversies about Boy Scouts connected with discriminatiion? I had heard that. I had been a Camp Fire Girl and it was a strong positive influence in my childhood. I also worked with Girl Scouts when I worked as a children's librarian and I thought that they were very lucky girls.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Such an interesting post, Jeanie. I didn't know about Baden-Powell's art. Congratulations to Rick on becoming and Eagle Scout. That is quite an accomplishment for any young man.

Laurie said...

👍👍👍👍❤️

Martha said...

I am so glad you were able to see those and take photos too before it closed. His work is absolutely gorgeous! So interesting that he was art journaling way back then too. Thanks so much for sharing these with us. Love the cute photo of Rick :)

Pamela said...

How interesting. I didn't know about the museum and now it's closed. Another historical place gone, but you have captured it. I was a Girl Scout, worked at camps during college summers, then later full time for a Girl Scout Council.

bobbie said...

Way cool ~ his drawings are wonderful!

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

Wow, his painting and journaling style reminds me so much of yours. I've never known an artist who could use both hands to create. Thanks for sharing.

anno said...

Lovely, Jeanie. And served up with an interesting story as well. Gotta admire anyone who does anything like paint (or write, or draw, or play an instrument, or run three miles) every day. I was not much of a scout -- the leeches that appeared on my tent on my first camping trip did not endear the activity to me -- but I know many people who felt nourished and inspired by their scouting experiences. Thanks for this portrait.

Valerie-Jael said...

Wonderful paintings. I much enjoyed my time with the girl guides as a kid, and later I was a scout leader, and it was fun! Hugs, Valerie

eileeninmd said...

Hello Jeanie,

The art work is beautiful. It is a wonderful collection! I was a Brownie and a Girl scout, they were fun times. Take care, enjoy your day! Have a great week ahead!

Rustic Pumpkin said...

I had no idea he was such an accomplished artist. Thank you for this. Congratulations to your Eagle Scout, which I guess is the equivalent of Queen's Guide/Scout in the UK? I came within one badge and our troop sadly disbanded.

Deb in Wales

Sami said...

I was in the Girl Guides in my youth in Africa, but had no idea Baden Powell had been such a wonderful artist and writer too.
Wonderful sketches, how lucky you got to see them Jeanie.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Jeanie! I have never seen or heard of this talented artist!Thank you for bringing his work to the surface for me! Oh, it's lovely to see you....I have lost contact with a lot of bloggers since I don't blog that often but thank you for coming to visit and for taking the time to listen to my poem. I put out the "disclaimer" that all my work is an experiment because no matter how long I've been doing all of this, my work all seems so elementary but I do enjoy sharing what I do.

I hope you are well and when you get a moment, let me know about the A-Fib issue.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I am curious to know how so much of Baden-Powell's material made it to the United States. Surely there must be a scouting museum in Britain where it would seem more logical that these items would reside there. Years ago, I had a book about Baden-Powell's art, and I am not quite sure what happened to it.

Iris Flavia said...

Wow, he sure was talented! Very. Thank you for introducing him, I never knew!
Very cute pic :-)

Joanne Huffman said...

Really cool art and journaling, capturing so many moments. He seems to have had an interesting and productive life.

creativeseconds.com said...

So beautiful ~ thank you for teaching me something new this AM, and with so much visual interest too. What an impact he made on the world! Blessings on your week ~

The French Hutch said...

I am not familiar with this artist so I'm thrilled you shared it. Fabulous example of painting and journaling (I know you loved this) which I've always loved. How wonderful you were able to see this while you were in Dallas. Now back for another scroll!

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, what an interesting read and wonderful art. His life sounds so fascinating with his travel. Thank you for introducing him to me. Have a lovely day!

La Table De Nana said...

Love his style!And look at Rick...so cute!

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

How interesting! I really enjoyed this post. His art is great!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I did not know that Rick was an Eagle Scout! So impressive as I know that is so much work and requires a lot of dedication. I love that photo of young Rick! This artist is so talented. I can’t believe he could paint with both hands! Amazing!

Anca said...

Wonderful artwork. I love the little numbers and the description of the places. How unusual.

DUTA said...


Rick looks charming as a scout, in the picture with the birthday card!
Baden-Powell's sketches are truly fascinating! What a delicate and yet realistic style!

mel said...

What beautiful journals...yes, art-journaling before it was a Thing. I've no doubt he'd have been wildly popular on social media with those beautiful pages ;)

That's definitely an example of a full life, well-lived and with such positive contributions to the world, regardless of what the modern day has done with them. xo

gigi-hawaii said...

This is a great post about my favorite subject: Art. Thanks so much. I never knew about this man. He was incredible.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

He had a fascinating life and I love his paintings - he literally painted his life in small scenes. Lovely post Jeanie.

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

Such an interesting post. I admire so many artists. Rick looks so cute as a scout and that smile. Have a wonderful week Jeanie.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

My sons have great memories of their days in Scouting. I imagine that any group you join will have some bad elements.

What a fascinating life that man led.

Barb said...

These are just wonderful! The amount of personality in them is awesome.

My name is Erika. said...

Wow, this journaling is so amazing. What a wonderful collection. Thanks for sharing these. It's inspiring and make me want to be able to do this, but my style would never be this exact. And what a fun photo of Rick too. One more sleep to go...by tomorrow at this time hopefully all will be well. Hugs-Erika

Karen said...

What beautiful, and interesting, art works.
I was a Guide and then a Guider and then worked at National level in special events planning. My aunt was Commissioner so I guess it was in our blood.

Joyful said...

Beautiful. I love all the art. I didn't know that Robert-Baden-Powell had spent time in Africa too. His Boy Scout movement certainly had a huge, largely positive impact around the world.

Jeanie said...

From Judy at Gold Country Cottage:
Hi Jeanie: I love seeing these type of paintings and journaling. Little bits that tell such wonderful stories. I admire those that can do it like you and Susan Branch. Wish I could. I hope you got to see Joe and Kamala honor the victims of Covid tonight. It was a really simple and beautiful ceremony. Can’t wait for tomorrow just pray that everything goes right..Stay well..xxoJudy P.S. Rick was the cutest little boy scout!

Little Wandering Wren said...

He was a talented artist for sure and the scouting movement was part of so many youngsters upbringings. Not me, I went once and they were knitting squares for blankets for Africa and I thought it rather a big yawn and I never returned! I think I was hoping for something more active! Obviously, Rick had a waaaaay better experience, what a great photo!

William Kendall said...

I did not know he was an artist.

shoreacres said...

I've never heard of this fellow, but his art is remarkable. I like it. When you went to the museum, didn't you see some of Norman Rockwell's art, too? I'm sure I remember you posting one of his Boy Scout paintings, at least. I'll have to have a search and see if I can surface it.

shoreacres said...

Yep -- I found the Rockwell!

Jenny Woolf said...

That is a surprise, I never knew that about him. How delightful it must have been to get letters from him, illustrated like that. I particularly like the dramatic one of the man on the hillside facing a wild boar. Time I got the watercolours out of the cupboard where I put them last week. I'm so sad about the few individuals who give scouting a bad name, and most people, like Rick, have really got a lot out of the Scouts, Guides, Cubs and Brownies.

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Jeanie, I love this. I have always been drawn to art with writing about the piece from the artist. His work is certainly amazing and beautiful. Love the photo of Rick in his uniform and with his cake.

Have a lovely day, my friend. I know you will also be happy to see this day over.

thepaintedapron.com said...

Fabulous journal pages! His watercolors are wonderful!
Jenna

Nasreen said...

Thanks for sharing about these!

Lowcarb team member said...

Gosh! I had no idea he was such an accomplished artist. Many thanks for this post.

It was so nice to see that photograph of Rick too.

All the best Jan

Sandra Cox said...

What a fascinating man. Enjoyed the young Rick pic:)

Sherry's Pickings said...

what lovely sketches and watercolours. two of my favourite mediums/media?:-) A pleasure to see them.

Sue in Suffolk said...

Well, I never knew he was an artist, despite being a Cub Scout Leader for almost 20 years. Thank you so much for sharing those

R's Rue said...

Beautiful.

Pam said...

Beautiful art.

Sandra Cox said...

Art journals are fascinating.

Traveller said...

It is interesting that many people of his generation painted as a hobby and were very skilled.

Divers and Sundry said...

I knew he did illustrations but didn't realize quite what an artist he was. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing his story.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I found this post about Baden-Powell very interesting...loved his journals with his little paintings.

Ricki Treleaven said...

Wow, Jeanie, this is fascinating! I love journaling, and I think illustrated letters are wonderful. There was an exhibition at the Smithsonian several years ago all about the illustrated letter, and I would have LOVED to have seen it. I wonder if it included any of Lord Robert's letters. Thanks for sharing the exhibit and illustrated letters.

Marilyn Miller said...

I didn't know about this artist and love seeing his work. Thanks for sharing it with us. I especially love his art journal drawings. So nice and what an inspiration for sure.

Stevenson Q said...

Jeanie, dear Jeanie! This is such a delight for me! I love the impressionism style of the artist on his works! That Swiss page and the Greece one just made me stare at it with its dreamy details!

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