Media File
Feliks Topolski
Date: Polish painter and draftsman, 1907–1989
Biography: Feliks Topolski was born on 14 August 1907 in Warsaw. He studied in the Warsaw Academy of Art, and trained as an artillery officer. Later he studied and worked in Italy and France, and eventually he moved to Britain in 1935 after being commissioned to record King George V's silver jubilee. In 1939 the George Bernard Shaw play In Good King Charles's Golden Days was published with illustrations by Topolski, bringing his work to a wide audience in the UK. During the Second World War, Topolski became an official war artist and painted scenes of the Battle of Britain and other battlefields.
After the war he made a celebrated painting about the first meeting of the United Nations. In 1947 he gained British citizenship.

In 1959, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh commissioned Topolski to create a mural depicting the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The mural contains 14 friezes divided into two narratives; one narrative; entitled 'In The Streets' shows various processions to Westminster Abbey, while the second, entitled 'In The Abbey', depicts the procession out of the Abbey after the coronation.

Topolski painted portraits of contemporaries, including the authors H.G. Wells, Graham Greene, John Mortimer and Evelyn Waugh, and politicians Harold Macmillan and Aneurin Bevan. He also painted murals, contributed to BBC programs, such as Face to Face and designed theatrical sets. Between 1975 and his death he worked on a 600 ft mural in a studio in railway arches near London's South Bank, depicting events and people of the 20th century. It opened to the public as a free permanent exhibition called Topolski Century. In 1989 he was elected a senior Royal Academician as a draughtsman.