Born in Rotherham, Edwin La Dell won scholarships to Sheffield School of Art and the Royal College of Art (RCA), where he studied under John Nash and Percy Horton. Often using flat colour overlays, his work conveyed a strong sense of design as well as an interest in atmospheric effects. During the Second World War, he joined the Civil Defence Camouflage Establishment in Leamington Spa, working as a camouflage designer. He became involved with the Artists International Association and also submitted work to the War Artists Advisory Committee. In 1943, he was sent on active service, first in Belgium and then on the German Front. From 1946 to 1949, he produced paintings, lithographs and murals for the Central Office of Information.
After the War, he continued making art and was employed as a teacher, initially working as a tutor at the RCA in 1948 before becoming Head of the Printmaking. In this role, his impact on post-war printmaking and future generations of printmakers was enormously influential. His works are represented in several public collections including Tate and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
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