Betts, J. Anthony

Date: 1897-1980

James Anthony Betts, better known as J. Anthony Betts, studied at both the Bradford College of Art and the Royal College of Art. Betts went on to make his name as both an artist and a teacher. Most of his work took on the form of oil paintings, whilst, academically he worked as the head of the school of painting at Sheffield College of Art, later becoming the principal of Kingston School of Art; before going on to teach as professor of Fine Art of the University of Reading from 1933 to 1963.

Betts was the University’s first Professor of Fine Art; he was instrumental in setting up an Honours Degree course in Fine Art in 1937. Amassing a teaching collection for the department comprising of drawings by old and contemporary masters, Betts allowed students to study directly from original works of art and complementing the new emphasis on academic art history, that he introduced as part of the syllabus.

The University Art Collection holds a variety of prints, paintings and drawings by Professor Betts.