Arthur Jacob LYONS

Mr Arthur Jacob LYONS
Arthur John Templeton

Arthur Jacob Lyons was born into a large Jewish family in Paddington, London. His parents were Frederick Moses Lyons and Esther Blanche Davis. He started off as an apprentice to his father, a warehouseman, before going on to study at the Royal Academy Schools from 1894 to 1897. He married an Australian, Zillah Louise Mandelson, in 1898.

Around 1900 he was in Bexhill, becoming the Principal of the newly established School of Art and Science. Reports of the School's opening describe him as 'an old scholar of the Royal Academy Schools' who had 'won a reputation in London for his black and white work. He has done a good deal of illustrating for the leading periodicals, and been an exhibitor of landscape and figure painting. Having had a considerable experience in teaching, Mr Lyons is well qualified for giving lessons in drawing and painting in all their branches.' In 1911 he exhibited at the Royal Academy, and also in Liverpool.

David Tovey has written of Lyons' career as follows: 'Lyons was a London-born figure painter, who based himself in Paris in the pre-First World War years, and took refuge in St Ives for a while on the outbreak of the War.  However, whilst his stay was brief, he seems to have become fully involved with the community.  Fehrer records him as studying at the Julian Academy in 1900 under Bouguereau and Ferrier, and he first started exhibiting his work in Paris in 1908.  He also appears to have studied under J P Laurens, as he won a medal at the Salon in 1909 for his depiction of a banquet of Laurens’ students.  He came to St Ives in July 1914, took a house in Sea View Terrace and appears to have shared Edmund Fuller’s studio on the Quay.  In December 1914, he did a colour illustration for the St Ives Times depicting Kaiser Wilhelm being cooked in a pot with the allied commanders looking on, with monies raised from the sale going to the paper’s “Tobacco for the Troops” fund.  He also contributed to the Belgian Relief Fund. 

Lyons participated in Show Day in 1915, when his principal exhibit was Au Cinema, a painting of the interior of a Paris cinema, which he had shown at the Salon the previous year.  The reviewer was impressed, “Mr A J Lyons is an artist with a decided talent for portraiture and figure study.  His principal canvas Au Cinema has afforded ample scope for the display of his abilities in this direction.  It shows the interior of a cinema during a performance, and he has endeavoured to portray - and with much success - the varying types of features naturally found in such a place.  The figure of a soldier, who occupies the central position, is a splendid piece of portrait painting.  The amount of work put into the picture is amazing, but the quality throughout is well maintained.”  He also showed two other figure studies, The Blue Robe, described as ”an attractive and brilliantly coloured theme”, and Chrysanthemums.  In early April 1915, Lyons agreed to paint a 24” x 20” canvas, with the proceeds going to the Fire Relief Fund, set up when the Salvation Army building was burnt down that March, a disaster which resulted in a number of locals losing their livelihood.  However, this only seems to have been sold for 10s-6d (Edmund Fuller’s painting done for the same cause fetched £2-10 and William Parkyn’s £1-1).  However, on 23rd April 1915, the local paper noted that Lyons had resigned from the War Relief Fund, as he was leaving St Ives.  A painting of a Harlequinade dancer, dated 1915, one of the only works by him to have come on the market recently, is likely to have been done in London, where he was recorded as living for his exhibits in 1920.  He had one last success at the Paris Salon in 1928.' [Courtesy of David Tovey] 

In the 1921 census he is resident in Kensington, together with his wife Zillah and 18-year-old son Douglas Arthur Lyons. He is described as an advertising artist and an employer. Zillah died in 1924. The following year, he changed his name to Arthur John Templeman, which he announced in The London Gazette, saying that he had 'renounced and abandoned the name of Arthur Jacob Lyons', describing himself as a designer. In 1929 he moved to The Manor House at Great Wymondley, near Hitchin, from where he was advertising sketching classes. A contemporary press story also records that he had offered to design the costumes and scenery for the local drama society. 

He married Jeanette Alice Bateman in 1933. In the 1939 England and Wales Register he is recorded under the name of Templeton as an artist (painter) living in Hitchin. An annotation records that he is an air raid warden and as 'Ret: Indian Army Reserve Supply & Transport Corps'. He died in Hitchin in 1948.

 This listing has been updated (2023) thanks to the rigorous research of Ann Bukantas, recently retired after 20 years as Head of Fine Art for National Museums Liverpool, with responsibility for the fine art collections at the Walker Art Gallery, Lady Lever Art Gallery and Sudley House.


Painter of landscapes and still life; teacher; illustrator; cartoonist; designer

works and access

Works include: Banquet of the Pupils of Jean-Paul Laurens (1911); The Blue Robe (1915); Chrysanthemums (1915); Au Cinema (1915)

Access to work: St Ives Times colour cover illustration (December 1914) by Lyons depicted Kaiser Wilhelm being cooked in a pot with the allied commanders looking on; monies raised from the sale went to the paper's "Tobacco for the Troops" fund.

The Inaugural Banquet of the 41st Liverpool Autumn Exhibition (1911) is in the collection of the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.


Paris Salon 1908-1928 (Silver medallist 1909); L (3); RA (4); Paris (11); Show Day, St Ives: 1915



St Ives Times 17 Jul 1914, 18 Dec 914 (illustrated edition b/w & col)

Crespon-Halotier  (2002) British Painters at the Paris Salons

Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (p335)

Johnson & Greutzner (2008)

Tovey (2009) St Ives: Social History (p361)

Whybrow (1994) St Ives, 1911-20 list, pp 216-8