They are also extraordinarily fresh. Irvin was a tall, good-looking man with boundless energy who never looked his age: his late pictures were so astonishingly vigorous and fresh that one might have guessed them the work of a young man in a hurry although they were when he was actually in his nineties.
Albert Irvin – he was always known as Bert – was born in Bermondsey in 1922, the son of a grocer, but the family moved to north London when he and his brother were young. Highbury, Arsenal FC’s stadium, could be seen from the house, and Irvin’s allegiance to his club was ardent and lifelong. After attending his local grammar school, Irvin was evacuated to Northampton on the outbreak of war from where he won a scholarship to study at Northampton School of Art.
A meeting with the Reverend Walter Hussey was an inspiration to him: Hussey was a