Arnold Machin

From humble beginnings as a potteries apprentice Arnold Machin rose to become an acclaimed sculptor creating the iconic bas-relief portrait of Her Majesty the Queen used on all Royal Mail definitive issue stamps.

Patricia Machin

Patricia Machin was born in 1921 and studied painting at Goldsmith's where her tutor was Leonard Applebee. Finding inspiration from the Old Masters and still-life, she was an established painter, illustrator, designer and author.

Francis Machin

Architect, sculptor, businessman and painter, Francis Machin was a talented designer responsible for a range of conservatories and garden buildings still seen throughout the United Kingdom, United States and Europe.

Arnold was living alone in his mother's house, his mother having passed away from a massive stroke in 1944, and he was finding it increasingly difficult to cope with life there. Needing somewhere to to live and work in peace without the problems of maintenance, he moved in with the Baker family.

Robert Baker, a painter trained at the RCA, had taken over from Gordon Forsyth as Superintendent of Art Instruction for Stoke-on-Trent, and Arnold had got to know him particularly well when he taught at Burslem School of Art. As well as using the Baker's house, Arnold continued to use the studio at Tom Wedgwood's house for his sculptures, which Wedgwood continued to fire for him. Although Tom eventually moved to South Africa, Arnold was allowed to retain the use of the annexe as his studio.

Arnold had been in regular correspondence with Richard Garbe who had been the director of the RCA's sculpture school when Arnold was a student there, and it was Richard who in 1946 suggested that Arnold should enter a terracotta figure for possible inclusion in the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition. Arnold sent in examples of his work but the comments that came back asked if he could do anything larger. He therefore produced a terracotta in the classical Italian style, much larger than anything he had ever attempted before, which was a seated nude about 5 feet high with attendant cherubs entitled 'Spring'. The piece was accepted into the exhibition and Arnold won the Royal Academy's Chantrey Bequest, 'Spring' later being purchased by the Tate Gallery. As a result of this award, Arnold was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy and was able to exhibit regularly at the summer exhibition.

It was at one of the previews to the Summer Exhibition that Arnold met Patricia Newton whom he had briefly met at Derby School of Art. Pat had been in the Army during the war but after demobilisation she had been able to get a grant to continue her art studies. She was by now an art student at Goldsmith's College with a particular interest in Still-life, and had submitted a painting which had been accepted by the Royal Academy for the Summer Exhibition. Arnold met Pat whenever he visited London, and in 1949 they were married.

In 1948, Robert Baker had become Professor of Ceramics at the RCA, recommended by Josiah Wedgwood who was by now chairman of the board of governors there. Josiah persuaded Robert to take Arnold on as a tutor at the Ceramic School for three days a week, teaching pottery and figure design. For the next seven years, Arnold worked part of the week for Wedgwood and three days a week at the RCA. He also managed to rent a minute studio Fulham where he could work undisturbed. It had a small kitchen, a lavatory and a bed, as well as space to work, and eventually Arnold was able to buy it.