Born in Dunvant, near Swansea in 1903, Ceri Richards was originally apprenticed to an electrical engineer and started to attend evening classes on engineering drawing. He soon realised that drawing was his main interest and, in 1921, enrolled as a full-time student at the Swansea School of Art. His success led him to win a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, London and he went on to represent Britain in many international exhibitions and was a contemporary of, and co-exhibitor with Henry Moore and Graham Sutherland. As an accomplished pianist, his work often took a musical theme but, particularly in Wales, he is well known for his works based on Dylan Thomas’s poetry.
Ceri Richards made paintings, prints and reliefs and whilst studying had become absorbed in the work of Picasso and Matisse and later in the 1930’s he had also become interested in the Surrealists, in particular their automatic techniques of creation and elements of chance. In his experimentation, Richards made a number of relief constructions and paintings which reflected his understanding of Cubism and abstraction. During the Second World War Richards was appointed Head of Painting at Cardiff School of Art, returning to London for good after 1945.
In 1962 he was a prizewinner at the Venice Biennale and is represented in many important museums worldwide, and the Tate Gallery has a collection of over 90 works. Following a successful career he died in November 1971 in London.