Ceri Richards (1903 - 1971)
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Original design for 'Missa Solemnis' by Ceri Richards
Original design for 'Missa Solemnis'. Late 1960s


Painter, draughtsman, maker of relief constructions and teacher, born in Dunvant, South Wales, into a family where music and poetry - always influences on his work - were encouraged. He left school in 1919 to be apprenticed to a local electrical engineering firm, but instead attended art classes. Studied at Swansea School of Art, 1921-4, then at the Royal College of Art, 1924-7. Worked as an illustrator for the London Press Association, 1927-8; in 1929 married Frances Clayton, met at the Royal College; in 1930 had first one- man show at Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea. During the 1930s Richards was associated with the Objective Abstractions Group, Surrealist Group and the London Group. First one-man show at Leger Gallery, 1942. While Head of Painting at Cardiff School of Art, 1940-4, he was commissioned by the Ministry of Information to draw tinplate workers. During the 1950s and 1960s Richards was involved in diverse projects, such as his painting Trafalgar Square for the 1951 Festival of Britain; decor and costumes for the opera 'Ruth', by Lennox Berkeley; the design of two stained glass windows for Derby cathedral; and lithographs to accompany poems by Dylan Thomas. He taught at Chelsea Polytechnic, 1947-57, the Slade School, 1955-8 and the Royal College of Art, 1958-60. Among his awards were a Gold Medal at the National Eisteddfod in 1961 and the Einaudi Prize for painting at the Venice Biennale, 1962.

The Tate Gallery, which holds his work, put on a major exhibition in 1981, there was an important show at the National Museum and Gallery, Chichester, 2003, and The Mayor Gallery organised 'Ceri Richards, Five decades of Works on Paper', 2004. Lived in London.