Leonard Richmond, British (1889 - 1965)

Leonard Richmond

Studied at Taunton School of Art and Chelsea Polytechnic.

Prolific exhibitor at Fine Art Society, RA, Cooling and Walker's Galleries. Also showed widely overseas winning a number of awards. These included the Tuthill Prize at Chicago International Watercolour Exhibition in 1928 and in 1947 silver medal at Paris Salon.

Member of PS, RBA, RI and ROI.

Leonard Richmond (AKA: Leonard “Slim” Richmond) was a British painter, graphic artist, illustrator, poster designer, educator, author, art critic and a Canadian war artist.

He was born in Somerset county (south west England). When not traveling, he lived most of his life in London, England and its environs. He also lived in the St. Ives* artist’s colony, Cornwall on several occasions; most notably in 1932, 1935 and for three years from 1946 to 1949.

His mediums were oil, watercolor, pastel*, graphite and lithography*. His subjects were landscapes, cityscapes, villages, mountains (Rockies, Alps), harbors, figures, portraits, holiday locations, still life, trains, ocean liners, sailboats and military railway construction during World War I. The painting locations are from his extensive travels across Canada, the United States, Britain and Europe. His styles are Plein Air* and Realism*. AskART have some good illustrations of his work.

His art education included studies at the Taunton School of Art [now Somerset College], Taunton, Somerset; and South-Western Polytechnic Institute [later called Chelsea Polytechnic, now Chelsea College of Art and Design], London.

His career as an educator includes giving lectures in Canada “from Montreal to Vancouver (1925 – 1926)” and in the USA “from New York to Chicago (1928 – 1929)”. He also briefly ran a school in St. Ives, Cornwall (1935).

However, his primary contribution to art education must be his prolific series of art instruction books. The first was written over 90 years ago. They have all gone through multiple editions, revisions and slight title changes, but they are still being reprinted in the 21st Century. The titles include The Art of Painting in Pastel (1917), The Technique of Water-Colour Painting (1925), The Art of Landscape Painting (1927), The Technique of Oil Painting (1927), Essentials of Pictorial Design (1933), The Technique of the Poster (1933), Studies in Water Colour (1933), The Technique of Still Life Painting in Oil Colours (1936), The Technique of Colour Mixing (1949), From the Sketch to the Finished Picture: Water-Colour Painting (1953), Sketching Out of Doors (1954), Landscape Composition in Colour (1959), and Imaginative Techniques in Painting (1964).

He is also the illustrator of Devon and Cornish Days (1932), by E.P. Leigh-Bennett and The Enchantment of Canada (c.1930), published by the Canadian Pacific Railway.

He was a member of the Royal Society of British Artists* (1914), Royal Institute of Oil Painters* (1919), and the St. Ives Society of Artists (1931). He also exhibited with the Royal Academy of Arts* almost every year from 1920 to 1955, the Paris Salon* in 1929 and 1947, and the Art Association of Montreal in 1925.

Other venues for his exhibitions include the Fine Art Society, London; New English Art Club*, London; Ridley Art Club, England; Royal Institute of Painters in Water-Colours*; and the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts.

He also exhibited at Ehrich Galleries, New York, N.Y. (1921) and Goupil Gallery, London (1922).

His works were included in the “Panama-Pacific Exhibition”, San Francisco (1915); the “Chicago International Watercolor Exhibition”, Art Institute of Chicago (1928); and recently in “Canvas of War: Painting the Canadian Experience, 1914 – 1945” at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2001).

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* there are Leonard Richmond works in the permanent collections of the Mackenzie Art Gallery (Regina, Saskatchewan), Vancouver Art Gallery (B.C.), Vancouver Maritime Museum (B.C.), Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (Banff, Alberta), and the Winnipeg Art Gallery (Manitoba).

The Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, has probably the largest permanent public collection of Richmond works with 18 of his paintings, sketches and drawings. They document the Canadian Overseas Railway Construction Corps in France during World War I. The Canadian Parliament Buildings, Ottawa probably has the longest continually exhibited Richmond painting in a public collection [and in what may be the most distinguished location]. The massive, 10 foot by 14 foot 10 inch oil titled “Railway Construction in France”, dated 1917, has been hanging in the Senate Chamber since 1921! It is one of only 8 paintings that adorn the Chamber walls; all depict Canadian activities in World War I.

Examples of his posters promoting train travel, as well as various travel destinations in Britain and Europe, are in the London Transport Museum (England) and the National Railway Museum (London, England).

His work for the Canadian Pacific as a graphic artist designing posters to advertise their trains, hotels and ocean liners, is illustrated and discussed in Posters of the Canadian Pacific (2004), by Marc H. Choko and David L. Jones; and his postcard designs are discussed in The Dictionary of Picture Postcards in Britain: 1894 – 1939 (1984), by A.W. Coysh.

His life in St. Ives is discussed in St. Ives, 1883 – 1993: Portrait of an Art Colony (1994), by Marion Whybrow; in Creating a Splash: the St. Ives Society of Artists: the First 25 Years, 1927 – 1952 (2003), by David Tovey; and in Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall, 1880 – 1940: A Dictionary and Source Book (2008), by Dr. Melissa Hardie.

His experiences in North America and work as an art critic are noted in “Art and Architecture in Canada” (1991), by Loren R. Lerner and Mary F. Williamson; The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar; and Artists in California 1786 – 1940 (2002) by Edan Hughes.

Richmond’s awards and honors include the William H. Tuthill Prize at the Chicago International Watercolour Exhibition (1928) and a Silver Medal at the Paris Salon (1947).

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