RICH, Alfred William

1856 - 1921

Born Scaynes Hill, Lindfield, Cuckfield, Sussex on 4 March 1856, son of Stiles Rich, clerk in a woollen warehouse, and his wife Lucy Ann née Saunders, who married at Kensington in 1848. In 1861, 5 year old Alfred was living at 8 Albion Road, Morning Lane, Hackney, London with his parents, 35 year old Stiles and 38 year old Lucy Ann, and his five siblings, Adeline 12, Stiles 8, Emeline 7, Margaret 2 and Charles 1. As a youngster Alfred began his self taught art education by studying works at the National Gallery but as a professional was, from about 1870, an heraldic painter and studied briefly at the Westminster School of Art. He married at Croydon in 1884, Cassandra Philippa Berney of Croydon. About 1890 he began his six years of studies at the Slade School of Fine Art under Alphonse Legros (1837-1911) and subsequently under Professor Fred Brown (1851-1941). As a landscape and watercolour painter became a member of the New English Art Club in 1898. Rich was influenced by the watercolour techniques of Thomas Girtin, John Sell Cotman and Peter De Wint, especially their use of the rich blooms produced by applying a full wash and allowing it to dry undisturbed and was an advocate of a natural approach to painting, trying to capture the emotion that a subject provoked, rather than simply reproducing a scene. He exhibited from his studio in Croydon in 1896, followed by showings at the New English Art Club, the Piccadilly Egyptian Hall, the Alpine Club, the Carfax Gallery, the Leicester Galleries and Walker's Galleries. On the Selecting Jury of the New English Art Club from 1904 and elected to the Council of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers in 1913 and taught and travelled with groups of students encouraging them to draw and paint directly from nature. He spent a considerable time at Old Farm Cottage, Walberswick, Suffolk during the occupancy of the Sewards' between 1880-1919 and tutored Marian Seward [q.v.]. In 1911, a 55 year old watercolour landscape artist living at 6 Yarrell Mansions, West Kensington with his 56 year old wife Cassandra and he died, while on a sketching tour with his pupils, at Tewkesbury on 7 September 1921, his widow married again in 1926, Thomas H. Holliday. Rich was the author of 'Watercolour Painting (1918) which remained in print for nearly 50 years and a scholarship in his name was established at the Slade School on the death of his widow Philippa Holliday in 1934, which is still awarded annually.




Works by This Painter