biography

WR Watkinsoverview

Thursday, May 16, 1966 Baltimore, The Evening Capital« click for detail
Born 1890 in Manchester, England, William Reginald Watkins settled in Baltimore from 1910 until his death at age 95. He studied at the Maryland Institute of Art under artists such as Hans Schuler, C.W. Turner and Maxwell Miller. His work exhibited at major Baltimore galleries, as well as the Baltimore Museum of Art, Peabody Gallery, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Grand Central Art Galleries, Springfield Museum of Fine Arts and the Maryland Institute. He taught painting and drawing at the Maryland Institute and the University of Maryland for half a century.

early art studies

Maryland Institute main buildingWatkins emigrated to the US from England in 1910, settling in Baltimore to study electrical engineering. His painting ability became evident and he was induced to study art at the Maryland Institute of Fine and Mechanic Arts (now the Maryland Institute College of Art) — the oldest fully accredited, degree-granting art college in the United States. He studied under Hans Schuler, C.W. Turner and J. Maxwell Miller among others. Watkins earned his diploma and post-graduate degree from the Institute and continued his studies for another five years, winning numerous prizes and scholarships. He was then placed on the faculty of the evening school, where he taught every year until the late 1960s.

commercial work

During the 1920s and 30s, Watkins was a top designer and lithographer for the Tin Decorating Company of Baltimore, or Tindeco for short.
tindeco stampThe Tindeco factory was located on Baltimore’s waterfront and was the largest tin decorating factory in the world. The plant floor covered 7 acres, housing 35 lithographic presses, stamping machines, and huge drying ovens. They began making tins in 1914 for the American Tobacco Company and produced over four million tins a day during busy seasons when the factory operated 24 hours a day. Tindeco was self-sufficient; everything needed to make a tin except raw materials was within the factory confines. This included an art department where paints were ground and mixed on site. Many of the machines used in the tin industry were invented in the Tindeco machine shop.

to be continued …