Thomas Hennell was born in Ridley, Kent. He studied at Regent Street Polytechnic, qualified as a teacher and taught for several years. Hennell spent some time researching his book Change in the Farm recording the changing scenes of rural life in Britain and Ireland in words and pictures. In the early 1930s he suffered a nervous breakdown and became an inmate at the Maudsley Hospital, After being discharged, at the urging of the artist Edward Bawden, he wrote The Wilderness, an account of his illness. At the outbreak of war in 1939 he wrote to the War Artists Advisory Committee offering his services as an artist. He travelled to Iceland, France and was finally sent to the Far East, where he died in mysterious circumstances in November 1945; the third war artist to die on active service. Hennell’s was a countryman’s vision of the landscape, focussing on the activities of the farm: hedging, threshing and baling, clearing orchards and the like.
Michael MacLeod, Thomas Hennell Countryman, artist and writer, Cambridge University Press, 1988