Notably, the eccentric nature of John Sergeant’s character manifests itself within his compositions. Over the years he had perfected his style and technique, mostly using charcoal estompé on Ingres paper. He also used coloured pastels with small touches of Chinese white, as can be seen here in the Cat’s whiskers.
Drawing was at the heart of all of his artistic practice. A friend once recalled an anecdote that out on a walk he came across Sergeant lying on the ground in a church yard. With the shards of an old tombstone around him Sergeant noted; ‘excellent material to include in a drawing’.
John Sergeant was born in London in 1937. He lived a productive life while pursing his creative ambitions while achieving wide recognition with collectors and dealers for his paintings and drawings.
In 1954 he was accepted into Canterbury College of Art and afterwards was conscripted into the RAF in 1957 for National Service. Sergeant entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1959 and in his final year won the drawing prize and married fellow student Carolyn Cann. Carolyn was equally successful in her career and was esteemed for her carefully arranged botanical subjects. John and Carolyn lived in Faversham and other locations in England before making their final move to Wales in 1983.
Sergeant taught at Canterbury College of Art and the Art Schools of Dover and Folkestone. Several of his one-man exhibitions were held at the Mass Gallery between 1986 and 1992. Sergeant also accompanied the Prince of Wales on an official visit to Prague in 1991 after the Prince noticed his work at a National Trust exhibition at Agnews in 1987.
Sergeant died aged 73 in 2010 after a long illness.