Richard Pryke was born in 1933 and educated at Highgate School and Keble College, Oxford. His art master at Highgate was Kyffin Williams RA, and he became an enthusiastic painter and sketcher. During the school holidays he used to cycle into the Hertford countryside and sketch old buildings. While at school, he used to visit the fine collection of paintings at Kenwood House and fell in love with Gainsboroughs spirited portrait of Lady Howe. He might well have become an artist, and often wished he had. Instead, he became an economist, worked in the Research Department of the Labour Party, stood for parliament, and taught economics at the University of Liverpool. However, art remained of crucial importance. H continued to visit art galleries whenever possible and, for instance, recall trudging across Chicago on a punishingly hot and humid day in 1960 to visit the Art Institute. Also he started to collect (inexpensive) pictures.
“The first of these was by Norman Garstin (1847-1926), a member of the Newlyn School. Ultimately, I decided to write a book on his life and work. It was published in 2005 by Spire Books under the title “Norman Garstin: Irishman and Newlyn Artist”. When writing the book, I became an admirer not only of Gasrtin himself but also of the Realist Movement to which he belonged, along with Gustave Caillebotte in France, and many of the artists associated with the New English Art Club in this country. With advent of modernism, Realism fell into disfavour, though it is powerfully represented by Lucian Freud and Ken Howard RA. Study of Realist art rekindled my enthusiasm for painting, and for some years I have devoted myself full time to working in oils. I always, if possible, paint on the spot. I am largely self-taught, but have greatly benefited from the constructive criticism of an experienced local artist and art teacher, and from attending painting parties, eg with Pamela Kay (NEAC) in Venice.”
“My aim is to paint oils in a Realist style not dissimillar to that of Caillebotte and the Newlyn School in the past, and Lucian Freud and Ken Howard RA today. I mainly paint landscapes (spring and autumn), townscapes and buildings (August and September) and interiors (winter). However, I should say that I have worked outside in temperatures as low as freezing point, and that my works increasingly include figures. My pictures are painted with love, which as Ruskin said is an essential requirement for good work, and I hope that they will, in turn, provide enjoyment. Hence my prices are intended to be readily affordable.”
All work is sold framed but not glazed.