My collection of images by the Jazz Age artist S.S.Longley has expanded and I realise how much I like his expressive, art deco, Jazz Age drawings in particular.
His work was usually signed Longley or S.S. Longley and he was born Stanislaus Soutten Longley on 17th August 1894 in Aylesbury, Bucks to Alfred John Longley and Margaret Alexandra Blanche. He appears to have been the youngest of six sons and a daughter. His father had a business as a house furnisher.
Longley studied at the Regent Street Polytechnic School of Art under Harry Watson and became an accomplished artist and illustrator. He is perhaps not to be confused with another artist named as Chilton Langley who had a slightly different style.
During World War 1 Longley was in the East Surrey Regiment enrolling 20 July 1915 and was discharged 30 August 1917.
Aside from his Jazz Age drawings he also painted a wide array of watercolours particularly of Devon and the South coast. His work appeared in many of the leading magazines of the day including the Sketch, The Tatler and the Graphic and he also designed a series of posters for The London Underground.
Stylistically he appears to have had several forms and a very varied palate: light and delicate landscape watercolours; bold, brash and colourful art deco compositions featuring a typical Jazz Age mannequin; romantic and period style figures in stylised settings and almost Lowry-esque figures in motion for his London Underground sequences.
Longley also ventured into designing for the stage and designed the poster for the play A Southern Maid at Daly’s theatre in 1920 that featured Jose Collins in a Spanish Shawl. In February 1924 he designed the costumes and scenery for a touring show described as an original musical extravaganza called 10 Noodles – comprising novelty musicians.
In the 1930s Longley made two overseas trips. He arrived back in the UK April 1931 after a trip to Japan, returning via Bombay, Aden, Port Said Marseilles, Monaco, Gibraltar and Plymouth. In December 1937 he left the UK for Buenos Aires and in 1 March 1938 arrived in Puerto Rico and then back to the UK from Kingston, Nassau, Miami, Trinidad, Madeira and Tenerife.
Longley died 20 August 1966 at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Boscombe, Bournemouth and had been living at 94 Harewood Avenue Bournemouth. His estate was valued at £37,179 and he seemingly never married or had children.
All images and text © copyright Gary Chapman / Jazz Age Club and must not be re-used without prior consent
A selection of images created by S.S. Longley from the internet
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 15 February 1924
The Sphere 5 June 1920