Harold Speed was a portrait and landscape artist and writer on art. Born on 11 February 1872 in London, son of an architect.
He first studied architecture at the R.C.A. in 1887 but turned to painting and won a gold medal for life school studies in 1890. He continued his training at the R.A. Schools 1891–6 where he was awarded a gold medal in 1893 and a travelling scholarship which took him to Belgium, France, Italy and Spain.
He exhibited at the R.A. in 1893–1943. He was a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and an associate of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris and finally a Master of the Art Workers’ Guild (1916).
Between 1895 and 1896 he painted fresco ‘Autumn’ in a lunette of the restaurant of the Royal Academy. His first one-man exhibition took place at the Leicester Galleries in 1907. Author of The Science and Practice of Drawing (1913), The Science and Practice of Oil Painting (1924), and What is the Good of Art? (1936).
He died in London 20 March 1957. His portraits are to be found in the National Portrait Gallery London and the Tate Gallery, London.