Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tuesday Salon: The Art of Richard Adams, Contemporary Painter (not the writer, Richard Adams)

'Above the Estuary' Richard Adams - via

'The Farmer's Bride' - via

The Red Millvia

'The Village Wakes' - via



'The Kitchen Garden' - via

'The Bridge' - via

The Lost Villagevia

'A Winter Afternoon' - via

'Skeletons of Summer' - via 

Contemporary painter Richard Adams (not to be confused with the author of WATERSHIP DOWN) is, to my mind, a British national treasure. (Well, and so is Richard Adams, the author, but today it's all about paintings.)

I stumbled across Adams zany world online and fell instantly in love. His paintings and illustrations depict a kind of fantasy pre-1960's England - halcyon days of idyllic rural countrysides beloved in books and art. Years faithfully written about by authors such as Angela Thirkell, D.E. Stevenson and E.F. Benson and SO brilliantly captured in vintage mystery novels too. 

English villages, as we know, were also the special domain of Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Michael Innes and their finely tuned ilk. Murder never seemed as foul when taking place among the cabbage roses and topiaries.

Certainly these settings were NOT the innocent byways and highways perceived by less perceptive outsiders, much to our delight, there were always nefarious secrets hidden in the hedgerows - anyone who's read a vintage cozy mystery knows that. 

And certainly anyone who knows ANYTHING about the sinister and oh-so-satirical rural ambience of Stella Gibbons' COLD COMFORT FARM (and if you don't - what are you waiting for?) will recognize the deceptively cozy atmosphere of Adams' work.

That's what I love most about it. Here's all this charmingly innocent rustic detail sparked occasionally by a disconcerting hint of abandon. (This IS England, after all.) But the implied sex in the haystacks is, in itself, of the Cold Comfort Farm type - outrageous yet somehow, not especially shocking. "I saw something nasty in the woodshed."

Adams works, I believe, in pastels which are notoriously difficult to master. But oh are they fun to mess around with. I have a box, untouched, un-used, of oil pastels which I've held onto for years thinking that at some point I'd give 'em a try - but oh, my friends. just TOO intimidating. 

Still, I enjoy the results when they are this obviously brilliant and engaging.


  1. I love Richard Adams work showing typically English places and events - in many of these paintings I recognise the locations, especially those showing the Cotswolds where he spent his childhood, and which are near to where I now live.
    You should open up your box of pastels and have a 'go' Yvette, who knows what talents may be lurking at your fingertips.

    1. He lives in Rye, now, I think. Is that near the Cotswolds? (I have such fond memories myself of having visited the area many years ago. I still have one of my photos framed and hanging in my bedroom - a cottage covered in blooming roses.) Glad you like Adams' work too, Rosemary.

      Yes, that tempting box of pastels. I may have a go at it one of these days. I've been thinking of taking a pastel class. If I could find one down here.

    2. Yes, you are right he does live in Rye. Rye is on the Kent coast quite near to Hastings.

  2. Having some trouble posting, so apologies for any duplicates, but you have some wonderful and lively selections here - I love how busy they all are!

  3. I like these paintings. A main reason is the fantastic sense of humor lurking around them. I think the artist must have smiling while he painted.

    And as far as idyllic English towns, I can't go there. I think of all the hard work of the majority of people just to survive, except for the very wealthy.

    I've just read two books in Peter May's excellent Lewis Trilogy, and I'm thinking about how difficult it was for people to survive on those islands and provide for their families, even hunting for seaweed before sunrise. And the abuse of orphans and other poor children at an "orphanage" in Edinburgh, and then sent to the islands to be indentured servants for strangers. And there was no electricity or running water or bathrooms.

    So, I'm looking at things from another world's perspective.

    1. My love of these sorts of paintings and the worlds depicted springs solely from watching movies, Kathy. I don't allow reality to intrude. :)

  4. Oh what fun, I love his work. The subjects are great.
    Thinking of you my Dear. yvonne

    1. Thanks, Yvonne. Thinking of you - how are you this summer? Is it very hot in Maine? I'm just now beginning to get used to the heat down here in N.C. Not fully accustomed but getting there. Jeez, it's hot!!!

  5. I hope you have a/c in your residence. It makes a big difference.


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