From the Vault: Rigby Graham’s Irish Voyage

Travelling across Ireland with Rigby Graham was a revelation. There is hardly a corner of this fascinating country that he cannot illuminate with his experience and vision. The man has been working in Ireland for more than thirty years and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of its past, its people, its pain and its passions. Join us to watch him working and hear his thoughts on painting and depicting the dramatic Irish landscape.

Rigby Graham

‘…Irascible painter whose idiosyncratic landscapes are among the 20th century’s best.’ – The Sunday Times, 2015

‘There are few people alive who can make their drawn illustrations ‘lie down’ so comfortably on a page with type – especially when he has designed the whole book himself. He is a real graphics man, and that would nail him down and mark him out, were he not such a good landscape painter and draughtsman, too. – John Piper, 1986

‘Compared with some of his better-known contemporaries he has ten times as much to say… It is Graham and not Rowland Hilder to whom historians will turn in future years to find out the look of the late twentieth-century landscape.’ – Fances Spalding, 2003

‘He was, above all, a master of line: an assured encompassing line, that quested around and drew what was pertinent, ignoring the irrelevant.’ – Andrew Lambirth, 2016

Principally a topographic artist, Rigby Graham was born in Stretford in 1931. He moved to Leicester in his early childhood where he attended Leicester College of Art, specialising in mural painting. After teaching at local schools Graham returned to lecture at the College of Art, firstly in Graphic Design and Printing, then in Education and latterly in Bookbinding. He retired from teaching in 1983.

His work is influenced by Neo-Romantics but in his colour he owes much to German Expressionism and he is considered one of the most important landscape painters of the late 20th century. The archive of his work, now at Manchester Metropolitan University, is a central resource for the study of landscape painting, lithographic and wood-cut printing, book illustration and production and private presses. Rigby died in May 2015 after a long illness.

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