Oil on Canvas Portrait of Male by Frank Richards

English, Early C20th


REF: FON4162

Oil on canvas portrait of a North African male signed F Richards - Frank Richards RBA (1863-1935).

Frank Richards was a landscape, figure and portrait painter and illustrator, working in both oil and watercolour. Born in Birmingham in 1863, he studied art at the Birmingham School of Art and one of his contemporaries there who became a well-known painter and illustrator was Arthur Joseph Gaskin. He remained in Birmingham until 1883 before travelling in Europe and North Africa painting plein-air, a mode of painting espoused by the Impressionist and Post-Impressionists which had a significant influence on many British artists, particularly the Newlyn School and some elements of the Scottish School. He was elected a member of the Birmingham Society of Artists in 1884 and in 1885 was living at an address in Lulworth in Dorset. In 1887, he was back in Birmingham but had moved to Newlyn by 1892 to work more closely with like-minded painters such as Stanhope Forbes, Harold Harvey, Henry Scott Tuke, Frank Bramley, S J Lamorna-Birch and his fellow Birmingham artists Walter Langley and Edwin Harris. Richards gives an interesting insight into the Newlyn group when he wrote about their cricketing prowess. It is evident that the sporting and social aspects of life were important to the group in their lives as artists. They used to stage art exhibitions to coincide with cricket, tennis and archery matches. In 1889, a new cricket team was inaugurated with Adrian Stokes as captain and one of the very first matches was Artists versus the Town.

He took part in exhibitions of the Newlyn School which were held locally in St Ives and Newlyn and also in Nottingham as well as at the Dowdeswell Gallery in London. In addition, he was also an exhibitor at the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of British Artists, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in London, the Royal Society of Artists in Birmingham, Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and Manchester City Art Gallery.  Titles of exhibited works include: “Spring and Winter”, “The Banks of the Stour, Christchurch” and “Christchurch Minster, Hampshire”.

In 1897, he moved back to London from the West Country and most of his illustration work coincided with this move. As an illustrator, Richards also contributed to the Pick-me-up magazine, The Graphic, Queen, The Sketch and The Windsor Magazine. 1902 saw him return to the west of England but this time only as far as Dorset, firstly in Wareham but in 1917 he was living in Bournemouth where he remained. Some of his commissioned portrait work was done here and Bournemouth Town Hall has some fine portraits of Mayors hanging in their rooms. Victoria Art Gallery in Bath has several landscapes and a portrait in its collection and the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth has several portraits and landscapes including: “In a Cornish Orchard”, “Egyptian Pyramids” and “Brigadier-General Sir Henry Page Croft”.

He was elected a full member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1921.

Height Width Depth
64cm 55cm 7cm
25.2” 21.7” 2.8”
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