Richard Cook - Biography

Richard Cook has been exhibiting for over twenty five years and has received awards from the British Council and the Arts Council. In 2001 he was given a solo show at Tate St Ives, with a related publication, and a major painting was acquired for the collection in 2006. He lives in Newlyn.


Richard Cook is a British painter living and working in Newlyn, Cornwall. Born in Cheltenham in 1947, he spent his early childhood in Sri Lanka. From 1966 – 70 he trained at St. Martin’s School of Art, London, and at the Royal College of Art until 1973. Whilst initially influenced by his teacher and mentor Leon Kossoff, with who he shared a studio for 3 years in the early 1970’s, Cook went on to develop his own voice and unique style inspired by the land and seascapes of Cornwall.


'What it is that Cook is in search of on each of his brief drawing visits is, of course, not identifiable beforehand. What he is certain of, however, is that when he finds what he is looking for it will be something that exists within himself as much as it does out there in the landscape he is observing. With directness he gently insists that what he paints — the images on his canvases — are in a significant sense already there. It is as if there is somewhere in him a memory that remains concealed until it can see itself reflected in the painting. [...] 'Inscape' is that design, pattern, or form that expresses the intimate interdependency between the worls as it appears in thought and the world as creation'.

[Extract from 'Scapeland and Inscape: The Landscapes of Richard Cook' an essay written by Michael Archer in Luminous — a book published by Tate St. Ives]


'It is wilderness that inspires me. I paint the land, sky, the ocean, and tree. My subject is the seen world of nature. The horizon disappearing behind the ocean; the land curving into a strange tilt; and the air buzzing with an ecstatic presence as a chant humming the experience of the outdoors. The early childhood that I spent in Ceylon has perhaps created memories that now permeate my work. And in looking back unknowingly I painted open spaces even when living in London; looking for what is intrinsic in landscape'.

— Richard Cook