Sir Hubert von Herkomer


The late Sir Hubert von Herkomer is the inspiration behind the Foundation.

Sir Hubert von Herkomer (1849-1914) was a distinguished painter, playwright, actor, composer and film director. His work left its impression on many, from Charles Dickens to Queen Victoria, who honoured him with a knighthood. Vincent van Gogh acknowledged him as an inspiration.

Sir Hubert was a pioneer of the social realism movement. His paintings reflected the full spectrum of society, from the wealthy and glamorous to the down and out. In 1883, Sir Hubert founded and funded the von Herkomer Art school in Bushey, Hertfordshire, where he served as principal. Sir Hubert held revolutionary ideas about how to teach art. Above all, he encouraged students to ignore convention and to develop their own individual talents as artists.

Sir Hubert believed that every individual should have the chance to pick up a paint brush, play an instrument or perform on stage. Through his status and personal wealth he continually sought to help the disadvantaged by providing them with a gateway to the arts.

In 2011 Mark von Herkomer (Sir Hubert’s great grandson) and Debbi Clark set out to create a charitable vehicle that celebrated the spirit of Sir Hubert by offering young people an entry point into the arts. A plan evolved, with ‘after school arts courses’ at its heart. A fund-raising strategy was devised, arts professionals recruited, and a board of trustees appointed. The Sir Hubert von Herkomer Arts Foundation was born.

In 2012 The Sir Hubert von Herkomer Arts Foundation became a registered charity (no: 1149607) and since then we have successfully run a number of after school arts courses in primary and secondary state schools, held three annual exhibitions, had an array of wonderful ambassadors give time to the foundation and in 2015 the incredible Helen McCrory became our patron.

We continue to strive forward to provide as many children in the UK as possible with a gateway to the arts.