Artist, art critic and art historian. Born the son of a graphic designer and chromolithographer, Gaunt dabbled in drawing and writing as a youth. In 1914, after winning a literary contest in the Connoisseur for an essay on Shakespeare's The Tempest, his thoughts seriously turned to criticism. He served briefly in World War I, fighting in the Durham Light Infantry, 1918, until the war ended that year. The following year he attended Worcester College, Oxford, where he read modern history and participated in the Art Society.