He was educated at Daniel Stewart’s College and, in a six-year apprenticeship, at a firm of lithographers. He attended evening classes at theRoyal Institution School and encountered the watercolours of Arthur Melville. In 1900, he moved to London to work as a medical illustrator and, three years later, joined the staff of the Illustrated London News.
He was widely honoured, being elected an associate of the Royal Academy, in 1924, after exhibiting only three oils (RA 1933), a member of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1931, and President of the Royal Society of Painters in Water-Colours in 1936 (for twenty years until 1956).
He was awarded a silver medal at the Paris Salon of 1913 for his superlative illustrations to Morte d’Arthur (1910-11), and received full recognition as a painter and illustrator with his election to the Royal Institute of Painters in Water-Colours (1912) and as an associate of the Royal Society of Painters in Water-Colours (1914; RWS 1917).
He received a knighthood in 1947.
It was Flint’s ability with watercolours that first brought his work to my notice. But his reputation was more based on semi-clad ladies than the wonderful paintings of the Loire. It was the latter that hooked me, partly because I could afford them when they were without models and partly because the Loire is my favourite river in France. A pleasantly hot summer’s day, cool under the trees, just the gentle noise of the movement of water gurgling through the reeds or over the small stones of the ever moving sandbanks, the hum of insects and the occasional birdsong. At the end of the summer with much less water the river looks harmless, unthreatening and takes on the gentle, relaxed character of the day and the sun.Flint’s ability to capture the character, the emotion and the sight of the almost bleached colours of foliage in the hot afternoon was second to none.
This is almost matched by his ability to depict architecture and especially walls (interior and exterior) around Southern Europe- take a look at ‘The Girl with the Lode Stick’ and ‘Blossom Time’ – or his ability in watercolour to paint reflections in wet sand in ‘Kaleidoscope’.