Richard Eurich

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Richard Ernst Eurich
Born Richard Ernst Eurich
(1903-03-14)14 March 1903
Bradford, Yorkshire
Died 6 July 1992(1992-07-06)
Southampton, Hampshire
Nationality English
Known for Painter

Richard Ernst Eurich, OBE, RA (1903 – 1992) was an English painter who worked as a War Artist to the Admiralty in the Second World War and was also known for his seascapes and narrative paintings. These were often invested with a sense of mystery and wonder which have tended to set him apart from mainstream development of Art in the Twentieth Century.

Early life[edit]

Richard Eurich was born on 14 March 1903 in Bradford, West Yorkshire. He was the second of five children born to Dr Friederich Wilhelm Eurich, Professor of forensic medicine and a bacteriologist known for his research into the disease anthrax. Richard was sent to St George’s School, Harpenden at the age of ten and then attended Bradford Grammar School from 1918 till 1921. He then studied at Bradford School for Arts and Crafts in 1922 and continued his training at the Slade School of Art under Professor Henry Tonks until 1926.


First Exhibition[edit]

Whilst still a student, Richard met Sir Edward Marsh a great patron of the Arts. He took Richard under his wing and together with Eric Gill was instrumental in arranging Eurich’s first one-man show at the Goupil Gallery in 1929. This exhibition consisted entirely of painstaking pencil drawings. At the opening, Richard met the artist Christopher Wood who advised him to “paint what you love and damn all fashions that come and go” which advice Eurich took to heart.

Redfern Gallery[edit]

Sir Edward Marsh also introduced Richard to the Redfern Gallery owned by Rex Nan Kivell. Eurich had a show there in 1933 which was so successful that the Redfern offered him a contract to act as his London dealer. His association with the gallery lasted for twenty-five years and he had a further fifteen exhibitions there.

The Second World War[edit]

With the outbreak of War, Eurich found a new subject. By coincidence, before the war he had painted a picture of the port of Dunkirk as if from the air.[citation needed] In June 1940 he wrote to the War Artists' Advisory Committee to claim the withdrawal from Dunkirk as his subject. His painting with that title made his name overnight when it was shown at the National Gallery in August that year. He was made an Official War Artist to the Admiralty from 1941 to 1945.

As well as epic scenes, he depicted stories of survival, in particular “Survivors From a Torpedoed Ship” where exhausted men cling to the upturned hull of their lifeboat. “Attack on a Convoy Seen from the Air” is remarkable in that he had never been in an aeroplane yet could visualise the scene as from above.

In 1942 he was elected Associate of the Royal Academy. He became a full RA in 1953.

Commissions and Teaching[edit]

Following the War, when it was difficult to make a living as a painter, he accepted a range of commissions. Amongst these was one from Evelyn Waugh where he was asked to depict the interior of a Dakota aircraft about to crash (called The Pleasures of Travel 1951), which he painted in 1953. Also in 1953 he painted the Queen’s Coronation for an illustrated newspaper. Then in 1956 came the Rededication of Rouen Cathedral.

From 1958 to 1965 he did a series for the Shell Shilling Guides of various counties. The Esso Oil Refinery at Fawley in Hampshire was close to where he lived and in 1960 he painted a picture of “The Seven Sisters” the name given to a group of pressurised spheres.

In 1968 he painted the large diptych depicting Whitby Harbour and Chatsworth House for the Teaching Hospital in Sheffield. Unfortunately this is not on show at present as the building was redesigned and there is no space for them. This is the only work he ever did in acrylic as it was deemed less reflective than oil paint.

From 1949 till 1968 Richard taught part-time at Camberwell School of Art under Leonard Daniels. From 1969 until 1971 he taught part-time at the Royal Academy Schools.

Later life[edit]

In 1958 Richard wrote an as yet unpublished autobiographical fragment called "As the Twig is Bent" which records his early impressions up until the end of his student days.

After the War the Redfern only exhibited Abstract Art so Richard started a five-year association with Arthur Tooth and Sons, but from 1973 he started to exhibit at The Fine Art Society who championed his work for the rest of his life.

In 1951 and 1980 there were retrospective exhibitions organised by the Bradford Art Galleries. The second of these toured to Southampton, London and Glasgow. In 1981 he won the first Hunting Art Prize for oil painting with his picture "Weymouth Bay 1980".[1]

In 1981 he was given an OBE and in 1989 an Hon D Litt from Bradford University.

In 1991 the Imperial War Museum put on a retrospective (helped by the Fine Art Society), which although he was ill Richard managed to attend.

Family and Friends[edit]

In 1934 Richard married Mavis Pope, teacher at Southlands Training College in Wimbledon and daughter of a Methodist minister. They set up home in the New Forest where Mavis’ parents were and where she had spent many happy holidays. Richard’s parents came and lived nearby till the Doctor’s death in 1945.

Richard and Mavis had four children. Crispin, the eldest (b. 1935) became a successful photographer but he died of a brain tumour [2]in 1976 at the age of 40. Joanna died in infancy in 1945. Caroline (b. 1942) and Philippa (b. 1947) survive.

Richard was a shy man but formed a few lasting friendships. John Bickerdike the sculptor introduced him to African sculpture when he was a student in London. They attended concerts together and remained a good friends in later life He was very influenced by Sidney Schiff who wrote under the name Stephen Hudson and many of his letters to him are in the Tate Archive. Another friend with whom he had a long correspondence was the artist Edward Wadsworth. Later on Bernard Dunstan RA who also taught at Camberwell and his wife Diana Armfield were amongst the few with whom he kept in regular touch.


  • "Bradford’s Own" Derek A J Lister. Sutton Publishing ISBN 0-7509-3826-9
  • "British Landscape Painters" Charles Hemming. Victor Gollancz ISBN 0-575-03957-4
  • "British Painters of the Coast and Sea" Charles Hemming. Victor Gollancz ISBN 0-575-03956-6
  • "The War Artists" Meirion and Susie Harries. Michael Joseph ISBN 0-7181-2314X
  • "Art in Poole and Dorset" Peter Davies. Poole Historical Trust ISBN 0-9504-914-62
  • "Every Picture Tells a Story" Rolf Harris. Phaedon ISBN 0-7148-2554-9
  • "I Spy Transport in Art" Lucy Micklethwaite. Collins 1996 ISBN 0-00-198181-1
  • "Marine Painting" William Gaunt. Secker and Warburg ISBN 0-436-17315-8
  • "Portrait of the Artist" Leonard Rosoman. Bradford City Art Galleries ISBN 0-94-665-7246
  • "An Art Accustomed Eye: John Gibbs and Art Appreciation in Wales 1945-1996" Peter, Wakelin 2004 ISBN 0-7200-0555-8
  • "Twentieth Century British Marine Painting" Denys Brook-Hart Antique Collectors Club Ltd ISBN 0-902028-90-1
  • "The Gentle Eye" photographs by Crispin Eurich, with introduction by Vivien Cutting. Self-published by the Eurich family 1979, probably co-incident with exhibition at The Photographer's Gallery, central London. Printed by Unwin Brothers Limited, Old Woking, Surrey. No ISBN number.


  • World War 2 Vol 1 Part 9 Chapter 19 on Dunkirk
  • Planet, The Welsh Internationalist Oct/Nov 2004
  • The Artist Oct 1971 Vol 82 No 2 Issue 488 Interview with Richard Eurich
  • Art Review: A Survey of British Art 1938 The Artist Publishing Company
  • The Artist Vol 11 No 6 August 1936 Artists of Note (This month, Richard Eurich)
  • RA Magazine No7 Summer 1985 Richard Eurich by Nicholas Usherwood
  • The Artists and Illustrators Magazine Issue 39 December 1989 Portrait of the Artist Richard Eurich
  • Hampshire Magazine January 1982 Vol 32 No 3 Two remarkable Hampshire Men by John Edgar Mann
  • Catalogue of the RA: British Painting 1952-1977 (picture)
  • The Hunting Art Prizes 1981- 2005 (picture)
  • Britain 1998; An Official Handbook Stationery Office ISBN 0-11-620941-0 (front cover)


  1. ^ "The Hunting Art Prizes" (PDF). Hunting plc. p. 13. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Vivian Cutting

"Richard Eurich (1903 – 1992) Visionary Artist" by Edward Chaney and Christine Clearkin, published in his centenary year 2003 with an accompanying exhibition which started at Southampton Millais Gallery and then toured to the Fine Art Society and Russell-Cotes Art Gallery Bournemouth. ISBN 1-903470-11-0

"Richard Eurich: From Dunkirk to D-Day" published by the Imperial War Museum in 1991 to accompany the exhibition.This has an essay by Nicholas Usherwood with additions by Angela Weight.

“The Edge of All the Land : Richard Eurich 1903 – 1992” published in 1994 by Southampton Art Gallery to coincide with a Memorial Exhibition with an introduction by Nicholas Usherwood. This exhibition toured to Manchester City Art Gallery, Cartwright Hall Bradford and Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich.

External links[edit]