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15 Dec 2005 - 19 Jan 2013
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Venus on the Sun by Graham Arnold

The Brotherhood of Ruralists
Information Website

Graham Arnold - Profile


Biographical Notes

  • Graham Charles Arnold, born in Sydenham, 24 May 1932
  • Moved to Beckenham, Kent, 1936
  • Began still life painting, 1938/9, under the guidance of his father, a gifted amateur painter
  • Evacuated to Hay-on-Wye with mother and sisters, after house was bombed, 1940
  • Returned to London, 1942
  • Attended Hornsey School of Art for drawing classes on Saturday mornings
  • Family moved back to Beckenham, following repair of house, 1944
  • Attended Beckenham Technical College, 1944-47
  • Camping trip to Lands End - paints coastline
  • Studied at Beckenham School of Art, 1947-52 and receives David Murray Landscape Prize from Royal Academy Schools
  • Visit to Shoreham (Samuel Palmer's village), 1948, included staying overnight in the church.
  • Cycling tour of Norfolk and Suffolk, - draws churches and ruins
  • Cycling tour of Wessex, 1949 - draws Stonehenge, Woodhenge, Maiden Castle
  • Exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1950
  • National service, 1952-1954 (Royal Artillery and Royal Army Education Corp) -   including postings in Korea, Malaya and Singapore.
  • Returned to Beckenham School of Art, 1954-1955, working alongside John Cole and Hellmuth Weissenborn.
  • Studied at The Royal College of Art, 1955-1958, one of his tutors was John Minton.
  • Resident Painter at Digswell House, Hertfordshire, 1960-63
  • Commissioned by Henry Morris, C.B.E., Digswell Arts Trust, for a large painting "The English Countryside".
  • Awarded the Rome (Abbey Minor) Scholarship and the RCA Travelling Scholarship, 1958; travelled in the South of France and Italy as a result.
  • Married Ann Telfer, 29 July 1961
  • Taught at Ravensbourne College of Art and the Royal Academy Schools and Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Kingston Polytechnic, 1962-1973
  • Awarded University of London Scholarship for painting
  • Moved to Ashington, Sussex
  • Moved to Devizes, Wiltshire, 1974
  • Commissioned by The British Museum to produce a painting inspired by their Oriental Collection, 1978
  • Commissioned by Harvey's of Bristol to produce a painting for the Harvey's Collection, which was later used for a record cover. The painting remained in the Harvey's collection until it was sold in 2004.
  • Starts to become ill - diagnosis uncertain, 1985
  • Visits Venice, 1986
  • Illness worsens - diagnosed as aneurysm - admitted to hospital for partial replacement of aorta, 1986
  • Moved to Shropshire, 1986
  • Falls from ladder - breaks shoulder, 1987
  • Starting on 30 March 1992, the Arnolds journeyed by car through Western France - Saumur, Limoges, Cahors, along the Mediterranean coast to Genoa and Florence and on to Umbria and Assisi. The return journey took them along the eastern side of France.
  • Visited France and Italy in 1997 in order to paint.
  • Toured France in 1998, researching the Celts (works shown in the Celtic Pilgrimage exhibition).
  • Aneurysm recurs requiring further surgery, 1998/9
  • Visited France and Brittany in 1999, painting
  • Delivers the "Hallstatt Lecture" at the Museum of Modern Art, Wales.
  • Elected academician at the newly formed South West Academy of Fine and Applied Arts, in 2000.
  • Produced stunning new work for the Ruralists 2000 exhibition (all paintings sold)

Areas of Work

Painting (mainly in oils, often incorporating collage); drawing, mainly pencil - often using a very hard pencil on painted white board; photography, assemblage - mixed media constructions.

Graham Arnold on why he likes to paint:

I paint because I am happier painting than any other activity. Ever since I was a small boy and painted beside my father in our tiny warm kitchen I have enjoyed the seclusion and safety of my studio. When I am anywhere other than my studio, particularly with people, I am nervous and tense. My idea of happiness is to be in my studio and to know I have no commitments for at least three weeks.

I also enjoy the making of a painting from the first working drawing of my idea - the preparation of the board or canvas to the slow build up of the painting. I like to wake up in the morning knowing I am going to paint light falling on hair or to spend four days painting a beautifully graduated sky.

I like paint in tubes, the brushes and above all the smell of turps and linseed oil.

Finally, I paint my inner imaginative world and try to give my feelings and emotions a form. Once in every twenty paintings or so, a painting will give me a comeback and satisfaction which nothing else can match and these paintings point the way forward into still more exciting worlds.

Works in Public Collections

Works by Graham Arnold are believed to be located in the following collections. Access might not be available to the public in all cases.

Government Art Collection

  • London Town, Mixed media Construction, 1979

On-Line Catalogue Entry

Wiltshire Heritage Museum (Devizes)

On-Line Catalogue Entry


University of Liverpool Art Gallery & Collections

  • Thank You August, Mixed media Construction, 1974

Gallery Website

The British Museum

  • Oriental Antiquities at the British Museum, Oil, 1978

On-Line Catalogue Entry

Museum of New Zealand

  • My Summers Now, Oil, 1973

On-Line Catalogue Entry

Atkinson Art Gallery, Southport

  • Lift Not the Painted Veil, Oil on board, 1976

Gallery Website

The Tabernacle (Museum of Modern Art, Wales)

  • Last Poems (A.E. Housman), Oil and assemblage

It is possible that the gallery has other works by Graham Arnold. The gallery website has some information but does not function correctly, so it is difficult to determine what they have.

Museum Website

Artist Statement

On music and literary themes in his work:

Just as gentle breathing sustains life, so the breeze 'the lovely, lively air' as Traherne writes, pervades landscape. Finzi's music expresses this quality as no other composer quite does. Butterworth and Gurney explore similar feelings but Finzi sounds so natural open and unaffectedly original. The essence of Finzi is to be found in his many songs, they contain music of profound lyricism and they seem to give form to the feelings I have for the true countryside.

updated: 16 Sept 118

 Aztec Consulting Ltd
and the individual artists, 2000 - 2010