Reginald Edward Higgins’s distinctive and pleasing flat colours mark him out as a member of the “poster school” of artists and, indeed, he did produce a number of stylish posters during his career, including a number for the London and North Eastern Railway in the 1920s.
He was born in London on 31 March 1877 and studied at St. John’s Wood Art School and then the Royal Academy. Lewis Baumer, another contributor to a number of ILN magazines, also attended St John’s Wood Art School and both men were keen exponents of “the modern girl”; Higgins even exhibited a group of paintings called Some Modern Girls at the Sporting Gallery in December 1925.
His illustrations for The Bystander and The Tatler depict, almost without exception, independent and stylish women and his contributions during the First World War are dominated by women’s roles, from drivers to Whitehall clerks.
He was a member of The Decorative Art Group, founded by the Norwegian artist, Carlo Norway, which promulgated a simplicity and strong graphic style, banishing from their schemes the illusion of three-dimensionality created by the use of shadow. Similar in style to fellow poster artists Tom Purvis and Tony Castle, Reginald Higgins’ technique and subject matter feel fresh and modern, ushering in an aesthetic more suited to the forthcoming decade of the 1920s.