Lord Methuen (1886-1974)
Paul Ayshford Methuen was born on September 29, 1886 to Paul Methuen, 3rd Baron Methuen and his second wife Mary Ethel. He studied zoology and engineering at Eton and New College, Oxford. From 1910 to 1914 he worked in the Transvaal Museum in Pretoria where he published several scientific papers with the South African herpetologist, John Hewitt. In 1927, he attended art classes with Walter Sickert, which jump started his painting career. By 1929, he began exhibiting at the Royal Academy.
During World War I, he served with the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry and then with his father's regiment, the Scots Guards. After the war, he worked at The Ministry of Agriculture as a Live Stock Officer, and then as Marketing Officer until 1932.
In 1940, he rejoined his regiment as Captain. After the bombing of the Bath Academy of Art in 1942, Methuen offered to let the organization use his family’s estate at Corsham Court. Much of his later years were devoted to restoring the building and its art gallery.
In 1944, he became the MFAA officer for the 21st Army Group in Normandy. Methuen’s work consisted primarily of visiting châteaux to ensure they were not being damaged by military occupation. He also worked closely with Major Ronald Balfour, including a visit to Holland during February 1945.
After the war, Methuen was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1951 and a Royal Academician in 1972. For more than twenty years, he was president of the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol. He also served as a trustee of both the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery, as well as a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission.
Methuen died at the age of 87 on January 7, 1974.
Photo courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London.