|Alan Beeton self portrait|
The family bought an estate, “Hammonds” in Checkendon, near Reading in Berkshire,UK and entertained guests at weekend house parties, among the guests was the playwright George Bernard Shaw.
Alan was educated at the Collegiate School, Horton Hall School preparatory school and Charterhouse School, before going on to study at Trinity College, Cambridge.
When the First World War broke out, Alan enlisted in the Infantry as a Private and was then commissioned into the Royal Engineers. He was posted to a Camouflage Unit, which came under the command of the Royal Engineers (known as the Sappers), who were producing camouflage in a small factory just behind the front-line in Aire near Hazebrouck. For his work, Alan was awarded the Military Cross, was mentioned twice in despatches and awarded the Croix de Guerre. He also found time to do his own work.
Among Alan’s fellow artists in the Camouflage Unite was the woman who was to become his wife.
Geneste Penrose was born in Wiltshire on 3rd September 1889. Her parents were John Penrose from Devon, a Church of England Minister, and his wife, Jane E. Penrose. In 1891, Geneste’s father was Vicar of West Ashton Church, Westbury, Wiltshire. Geneste’s siblings were John, b. 1887 and Mary, b. 1888.
|Geneste Penrose self portrait Camouflagae|
Geneste studied art at the Slade in London. She joined the Army and served as a Deputy Administrator on the Western front with the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps, where she was attached to a Camouflage Unit.
Alan and Geneste returned from the war as pacifists, both of them horrified by the whole experience. It bound them together. They were married in 1919. In 1838, Alan was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Art. In 1939 Alan and Geneste were living in Henley, Oxfordshire, UK.
Alan died in December 1942 and Geneste died in 1974.
Sources: Find my Past and