Barnett Freedman was born into Stepney in London's East End on 19 May 1901, the son of Russian-Jewish émigrés. As a child, he suffered extended ill health and had no formal schooling after the age of nine, but exhibited a precocious talent for drawing. He was first employed as a draughtsman to a monumental mason, architect and sign-writer, also taking evening classes at St Martin’s School of Art. He was admitted to the Royal College of Art upon the recommendation of William Rothenstein, then principal, where he studied under Paul Nash (1922–25). Freedman retained strong links with the RCA throughout his working life, as a tutor, examiner and, finally, as Honorary Fellow. Freedman served as a war artist during the Second World War and was awarded the CBE in 1946. He was elected as a Royal Designer for Industry in 1949, became an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 1956 and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He was also a celebrated book designer and illustrator and received numerous commissions for works including Siegfried Sassoon’s ‘Memoirs of an Infantry Officer’, the works of Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte and Leo Tolstoy's ‘War and Peace’ (1938) and ‘Anna Karenina’ (1951). Barnett Freedman died in London, England on 4 January 1958. His work can be found in numerous UK collections including the Imperial War Museum, Museums Sheffield, Nottingham City Museums & Galleries, Pallant House Gallery, Salford Museum & Art Gallery, and Tate. In 1958 an Arts Council retrospective was held at the Tate Gallery, followed by a further retrospective, 'Barnett Freedman: Designs for Modern Britain', at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester in 2020.