Speight, Francis - Painter, 1896-1989 Print

Francis Speight

Date of Birth: 09/11/1896
Place of Birth: Windsor, North Carolina
Date of Death: 11/14/1989 (Age 93)
Place of Death: Greenville, North Carolina

Discipline: Painter

Biography: Francis Speight was born in North Carolina in 1896, the youngest son of a Baptist minister and farmer. After his service in WWI, he studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1920 to 1925. 

Speight went on to teach at the Academy, first as an Assistant Instructor, then as a Full Instructor until 1961. He continued to teach at the Academy in the summer until 1976. Speight was known as a contemporary realist, a landscape painter of suburban Philadelphia, particularly the Schuylkill Valley and the mill towns of Manayunk and Conshohocken.

Painting on location rather than in a studio, he travelled to his locations by trolley car or automobile, incorporating the gritty quality of life into his paintings. Despite being a prolific painter during the Depression, his paintings do not convey any social commentary. In 1936, Speight married fellow artist, Sarah Blakeslee, and in 1943 they moved from Manayunk to Doylestown where they lived until 1961. The Speights relocated to North Carolina so that Francis could serve as Artist in Residence at East Carolina University in Greenville.