Obituary

Self Portrait

Obituary, Liverpool Daily Post, 26 June 2003

Richard Young, who has died at the age of 81, was an artist who for many years managed to combine a career as an electrician with his art. He was to become one of the most collected artists on Merseyside, many of his exhibitions selling out. While he has several works in public collections, his intimate art – rooms, views from windows and self-portraits –  particularly appealed to private collectors.

He was born in Liverpool in 1921, the son of installation manager Henry Young. The family early on moved to Rotherhithe in 1923,but ten years later were back in Liverpool where Richard attended school in Walton. By 1937,he had moved to Newcastle where he became an apprentice ship’s electrician, joining the Merchant Navy in 1942 as a ship’s radio operator.

By 1945,he was back in Newcastle, working again as a ship’s electrician. But he had already started painting,and in 1948 had his first exhibition in the North East at the Shipley Gallery.

In 1953, he was back in Liverpool where he was to stay, painting and working as a freelance electrician. In 1955, he had his first exhibition at the then prestigious Liverpool Academy. Young – known to everyone as Dick Young – soon became an established figure on the Liverpool arts scene. He surprised many in 1979 by going to study at the Liverpool College of Art. He emerged three years later with,not surprisingly, a first class degree.

He celebrated his 70th birthday by being selected to hang in the John Moores Exhibition at Liverpool’s Walker Gallery. He took as his subjects his immediate environment, be it a chair in a room, a view from his window, or friends. A handsome man in his youth, the craggy features he developed later became another popular subject with a series of self-portraits. He didn’t marry but had a number of female muses.

He enjoyed the company of Liverpool’s young art set and, while never a big drinker, he loved the pub life where he could often be seen in conversation with a character named Tommy the Brush.

He could be reticent about his own work – once asked to name his great achievements, he replied, ‘Rewiring the Midland Bank, Bootle,in 1962’ – but his work has grown in stature over the years.

Among the public bodies who bought his work were the Walker, Liverpool University and the Williamson Gallery in Birkenhead.

Richard Young,artist. Born December 16,1921; died June 24, 2003

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