Oil on board
Beside The Wave
Born in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in 1929 John Alford attended Reading School. Later attended Camberwell School of Arts and Crats, 1949 - 53, then painted in Paris for 18 months. Back in England he taught part-time, then during National Service was made a sergeant in charge of the artistic division of Army School of Education. After demobilisation, he joined the art department of Shrewsbury School, becoming director of art, retiring after 30 years in 1989.
He had numerous one-man shows in America, Canada, France, South Africa and Britain. Alford was elected to the Royal Society of British Artists; other mixed shows included the Royal Academy, Royal West of England Academy, New English Art Club, Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the Royal Society of Marine Artists. Reading Borough Council, Shropshire Council and many private collections in Britain and abroad hold his work, commissions including the Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy.
Alford benefitted from the disciplined drawing and painting and the theory of constructing form in space in the tradition of Cezanne that informed teaching during four years at Camberwell School of Art under Leonard Daniels. He did not always find the discipline easy, but the legacy remains evident in his work. Gradually he inclined to the freer approach of two teachers, Bernard Dunstan and Richard Eurich. The influence of the former is especially evident in Alford's figure studies, the latter in his work as a maritime artist.
Like Eurich, he is a fine painter of ships and the sea. Few artists can fill a broad canvas with nothing but waves and one albatross as impressively and interestingly as Alford. The authenticity of his paintings of ships is informed by the fact that he has long been a sailor of dinghies and cruising yachts. This was facilitated by his buying a cottage in Cornwall in the 1950s from the proceeds of commissioned state portrait replicas of Queen Elizabeth, to be hung in embassies and consulates.
In his book 20th Century Maritime Painting, Denys Brook-Hart includes two Alford pictures: 'The Britannia at Falmouth' and 'The Malcolm Miller leaving Falmouth'.
Beside The Wave
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