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 Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell  (1857 - 1941)

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Lived/Active: England      Known for: ink and pencil military drawing, watercolor painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell,  Lord Baden-Powell, was a lieutenant-general in the British Army, writer, founder and Chief Scout of the Scout Movement.

After having been educated at Charterhouse School, Baden-Powell served in the British Army from 1876 until 1910 in India and Africa. In 1899, during the Second Boer War in South Africa, Baden-Powell successfully defended the town in the Siege of Mafeking.

As part of his service he was a spy for the British Intelligence Service, and under the guise of sketching as a butterfly collector, he made strategic military drawings. "In one instance, he pretended to be a lepidopterist in what was then Dalmatia (now Croatia).  Walking about with a net and sketchbook he positioned himself on hills overlooking strategic fortresses and pretended to make drawings of butterflies.  In truth, within his drawings, he was concealing tiny diagrams of the structures and the armaments.  He stated in his book, My Adventures as a Spy, 1915: '...for anyone who is tired of life, the thrilling life of a spy should be the very finest recuperator!' "

Several of his military books, written for military reconnaissance and scout training in his African years, were also read by boys. Based on those earlier books, he wrote Scouting for Boys, published in 1908 by Sir Arthur Pearson, for youth readership. In 1907, he held the first Brownsea Island Scout camp, which is now seen as the beginning of Scouting.

After his marriage to Olave St Clair Soames, Baden-Powell, his sister Agnes Baden-Powell and notably his wife actively gave guidance to the Scouting Movement and the Girl Guides Movement.

Baden-Powell lived his last years in Nyeri, Kenya, where he died and was buried in 1941.

Sources:
Roy H. Behrens, Camoupedia, A compendium of research on art, architecuter and camouflage
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Baden-Powell,_1st_Baron_Baden-Powell


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