Francis ("Frank") O. Salisbury

Francis ("Frank") Owen Salisbury

(1874 - 1962)


Francis (Frank) Owen Salisbury was an English artist who specialised in portraits, large canvases of historical and ceremonial events, stained glass and book illustration. At the height of his career he was influential in both America and the United Kingdom and was known as "Britain's Painter Laureate".


At the age of 15 he was apprenticed to a major stained glass company. He rapidly acquired all the practical skills of a stained glass artist and exhibited exceptional skills in the painterly detail that was applied to glass before its final firing. This led to him attending Heatherley's School of Art three days a week to further a career in painting. He subsequently won a scholarship to the Royal Academy Schools which he attended for five years and where he won two silver medals.


He had seventy exhibits accepted for the annual Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions, from 1899 until 1943.


It is for portraiture that he is best known. Twenty-five members of the Royal House of Windsor sat for Salisbury and he was the first artist to paint HM Queen Elizabeth II. He painted Winston Churchill on more occasions than any other artist; the two iconic images of Churchill - The Siren Suit and Blood, Sweat and Tears are both Salisbury images.


Other significant portraits include those of Richard Burton, Sir Alan Cobham, Sir Robert Ludwig Mond, Maria Montessori, Montgomery of Alamein and Earl Mountbatten of Burma, amongst many others.


Salisbury was remarkably successful in the USA, basing himself in Washington DC, Chicago and New York, where his portraiture would be a roll call of American wealth. He painted six Presidents, with his portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt still the official White House portrait to this day.