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Stephen Darbishire Sen RBA

Stephen was born into a family of doctors, musicians and artists, the second in a family of four.  His father was a doctor in Penny Bridge during the WW2 but in 1950 they moved to Little Arrow, Coniston where his love of the countryside and nature really began. He loved being outdoors and spent his childhood adventures on the fells and began drawing and painting.

Initially he was trained by the late Judith Da Fano who lived at Skelwith Bridge and he gained a scholarship to Byam Shaw School of Art studying under Peter Greenham RA and Peter Garrard and Bernard Dunstan RA. At nineteen he decided to become a missionary in Nigeria but returned after a year owing to ill health and opened an art gallery in Coniston.where he met his wife, Kerry Callaghan and they married at Brathay Church in 1967. 

In order to make a living, he trained at Charlotte Mason College, Ambleside, obtained a B.Ed. and after several teaching jobs, he took a position at Grayrigg Primary School.  In his spare time, Steve painted and began applying to galleries and exhibiting in the Lake Artists Societies annual exhibition in Grasmere.  

After a long search, in 1976, he found his family home in Whinfell, a beautiful place where he wanted to spend his life. By this time, he had two daughters, Rebecca and Naomi.

 In 1983 a ‘break’ came, he was accepted by the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, The Royal Society of Portrait Painters, The Royal Institute of Oil Painters, The Royal Institute for Painters in Watercolours, The New English Art Club, The Richard Hagen Fine Art Gallery, Broadway, Worcs. The Royal Society of Portrait Painters. The M1 Gallery London and the Fine Art Trade Guild Gallery, The Royal Society of British Artists, of which he is a member.  This opened many doors and meant his family were more secure and able to follow their dreams.  When an opportunity came for him to either become a headmaster of the school or paint full time, in 1982 he took the plunge and chose painting.

His inspiration for his work mostly comes from home and surroundings, life in the country; tables laid for tea, hens in the garden, his children and there are always cats or dogs appearing in chairs and curled up in front of the fire.

Stephen continues painting today, holding exhibitions, taking on commissions and exhibiting locally.

Artwork by Stephen Darbishire