RICH, Alfred William

1856 - 1921

Alfred William Rich

Alfred William Rich, was born Scaynes Hill, Lindfield, Cuckfield, Sussex on 4 March 1856, son of Stiles Rich (1826-1905), clerk in a woollen warehouse, and his wife Lucy Ann née Saunders (1825-1905), who married at Paddington, London 21 April 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. In 1874 Alfred moved to Croydon and began his art education by studying works at the National Gallery and at Harbutt's Art Studio from where he passed examinations at South Kensington in 1886 and was an heraldic painter until about 1890. He married at Croydon St John on 18 October 1884, Cassandra Philippa Berney (1856-1934) 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 (1775-1802), John Sell Cotman (1782-1842) and Peter De Wint [q.v.], 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, and at the New English Art Club; the Piccadilly Egyptian Hall; the Alpine Club; the Carfax Gallery; the Leicester Galleries and Walker's Galleries. Rich was 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 Seward family 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 about 1919 he moved to St Alban's but he died, while on a sketching tour with his pupils, at Tewkesbury on 7 September 1921 and was buried at St Alban's. His widow married again in 1926, Thomas Henry Holliday (1853-7 December 1934). 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 Cassandra Philippa Holliday at Lancing, Sussex on 14 July 1934, which is still awarded annually. His portrait by Henry Tonks is in the National Gallery. (West Sussex Gazette 15 September 1921).




Works by This Artist