Artist profile - Bob Richardson, Sale

Prestbury Winter Sun

Prestbury Winter Sun - Credit: Archant

Pastel artist Bob Richardson, from Sale, finds inspiration in the world around him and is celebrating five decades of success, writes Kate Houghton

Bob Richardson, at work.

Bob Richardson, at work. - Credit: Archant

Bob Richardson has been cited as one of the best pastel artists of his generation. His recent one-man show at Clark Art, in Hale, demonstrates just why.

Bob Richardson, who lives in Sale with his wife, Helga, says his earliest memories are of walking past the Salford Docks with his mother, as they burned, throwing flames and smoke into the night sky, following a bombing raid by the German Luftwaffe. This visual imprint and memory, followed by the later decay and eventual destruction of the Salford he grew up in, was a driving force in Bob’s early work, which put him firmly on the map as a key artist of the Northern School, alongside LS Lowry - who he knew well - fellow Salford resident Harold Riley and close friend Arthur Delaney.

His career as a professional fine artist followed a career as a commercial artist, a story that is told in full in a book about his life, co-authored by me, Kate Houghton, and Bill Clark, a renowned specialist in Northern Art and the owner of Clark Art gallery in Hale. The biography is a fascinating insight into the art scene when Bob first entered it, from conversations with Lowry to old-fashioned patronage and discovery.

While Bob’s early works are centred upon the places where he spent his childhood and his younger years, recording scenes that soon become no more than social history, many of his more recent pieces are a joyous celebration of the parks and landscapes of Cheshire.

Autumn Shadows, Arley

Autumn Shadows, Arley - Credit: Archant

‘My 2017 exhibition at Clark Art will be my last big one-man show, but you get a rhythm in your life and I enjoy coming to work. I’m 79 now, but what would I do if I stopped painting? At the moment I’m painting the gardens of the local National Trust places: Dunham Massey, Arley Hall, Quarry Bank. I’m a lover of gardens and if I see something beautiful I just want to paint it.’

Bob’s work and the story of his life to date, Bob Richardson PS, Pastel Master, can be found at Clark Art, Ashley Road, Hale. 0161 929 5150