Arthur Lockwood RBA RWS RBSA (1934 – 2019)

It is with great sadness that the RBA has received the news of the death of Arthur Lockwood who died earlier this month.

Arthur Lockwood was renowned for his urban and industrial watercolours of Birmingham and the Black Country,

Arthur was born and brought up in Birmingham. Drawing and painting from an early age he began his full-time art education at Bournville School of Art (1949 – 1951), followed by the Birmingham College of Art where he studied book illustration and gained a National Diploma in Design (NDD).

After a period of National Service he moved from Birmingham to London, studying Graphic Design at the Royal College of Art (RCA). On leaving he stayed in London and began working as a designer for a book publisher. By 1965 he had turned freelance and worked for numerous publishers including Penguin Books. Work was plentiful and Arthur was in demand for his skills in the planning and design of complex illustrated books. He lived in the west of London, first Kew and then Richmond and he married Gillian with whom he had two sons, David and Paul. Concentrating all his efforts on his work and raising a family meant Arthur had no time to paint, but in 1984 he once again picked up his watercolour brushes and for a time drew and painted alongside his design work.

By 1987 Arthur decided he wanted to do more of his own work and so stopping his design work he moved from London back to the Midlands. He settled in the village of Lapworth, Warwickshire and from this base he set out to record the changing and disappearing landscape of the Midlands. Travelling he saw for himself the factories, collieries, foundries, rows of terraced housing and shops all in terminal decline, or being torn down to be replaced by shopping centres, office blocks, new housing and roads. He spent hours drawing on the spot, outside in the cold, or in dusty, dingy, run down empty premises, capturing on paper the last images of a way of life before the bulldozers moved in. The intricate drawings were taken back to his studio where watercolour washes were laid over adding drama and poignancy to the scenes.

His vision and persistence in making his watercolours, of recording the rapidly changing landscape, show us clearly what we had and what we have lost.

Arthur Lockwood was a member of the Royal Society of British Artists, Royal Watercolour Society and Royal Birmingham Society of Artists

He died on 3rd June 2019, aged 85.

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