Ann Arnold - The Birds

The Brotherhood of Ruralists
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Graham Ovenden ~ Artist Profile


Biographical Notes

Graham Stuart Ovenden, born in Alresford, Hampshire, 1943

Attended Itchen Grammar School, 1954-59

During the 1950s Ovenden made regular trips from Southampton to London to take photographs of street scenes. Up until 1959 these were taken with a Box Brownie camera.

Studied at Southampton School of Art, 1960-4
- working with friend and mentor James Sellars.

Studied at Royal College of Art, 1965-8
- being taught by and collaborating with Peter Blake.
- met Robert Melville, who wrote the first major review of Ovenden's art.

Moved to Cornwall, 1973
- using the small cottage as a starting point, began designing and building what has become an important architectural statement, combining his own original ideas and craftsmanship with elements of Victorian gothic revival and the arts and crafts movement.

Formed the Brotherhood of Ruralists, 1975.

Exhibited regularly as part of the Ruralists and as a solo artist, with frequent exhibitions at the Piccadilly Gallery and others.

From around 2005 to 2010 Ovenden's work was frequently exhibited by Peter Nahum at the Leicester Galleries in London.

From 2007 to 2011, images by and from the collection of Graham Ovenden were included in the touring exhibition: Controverses: A legal and ethical history of photography, curated by Daniel Girardin, Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Continues to exhibit as an artist and in 2010/2011 working on a series of fine quality books in the form of joint-ventures with other artists under the name of Garage Press.

Areas of Work

Photography, Painting (mainly in oils), Drawing (mainly pencil). Poetry, Architectural Design (Barley Splatt). Has experimented in other areas such as screen printing and graphics produced using computers. Has written and edited numerous books on photography, artist monographs and other subjects.


Robinson Country - The Artist, Channel 4, 13 June 1987

Bats in the Belfry - Home Sweet Home, ITV, July 1987

Curious Houses, with Lucinda Lambton, BBC TV, 1987

Lolita Unclothed, Channel 4, 1993

Without Walls, Channel 4, 1994

For the Sake of the Children, Channel 4, 1997

Recorded Interviews

The British Library recorded a 5-part interview with Graham Ovenden in 2000. Transcripts are available from the British Library website and access to the recordings is available if you hold the required licence.

Click Here for full details.


Updated: 27 Oct 2008

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