Lawrence Toynbee 1922-2002

Lawrence Toynbee was a British painter who was born in London in 1922 into a distinguished family. He was the youngest son of Arnold Toynbee, historian and social philosopher; grandson of Gilbert Murray, classical scholar and poet; and great-grandson of George James Howard, Earl of Carlisle, the landscape painter. In addition, a brother, Philip, became a novelist and published diarist, and fathered Polly Toynbee, the Guardian journalist. (His portrait of his father is at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, while that of his grandfather, Gilbert Murray, is in the National Portrait Gallery.)


Toynbee studied to be an artist at the Ruskin School of Drawing in Oxford under the instruction of several notable artists of the time. After leaving the School, Toynbee very quickly became master of art at St Edward's School for Boys, Oxford whilst continuing to visit the Ruskin School as an occasional teacher. He continued to teach throughout his career, working at the Bradford College of Art for some time and directing the art department at Morley College in London. Particularly well regarded for his ability to convey movement onto a still canvas Toynbee's paintings of railways, stations and London Underground Tube lines proved to be very popular in the late 1940s. His paintings of sporting events were equally revered, with subjects such as Lord's cricket and Stamford Bridge football ground favoured among other representations of sporting contests ranging from rugby to rowing. Stillness, however, was also captured by the artist in the rich Yorkshire landscape scenes produced later in life.


Toynbee participated in several exhibitions, including solo shows at the Fine Art Society, throughout London in his career. The artist died in North Yorkshire in 2002. His work is represented in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.