Robert Brumby’s formal art training began in Hull at the age of thirteen, culminating in his later graduation from the Royal College of Art. Following a number of years as a designer in the ceramics industry, he set up his own studio/gallery in The Shambles in York where he designed and produced murals, architectural sculpture, paintings, ceramic sculpture, and functional stoneware for domestic use. His work gained national and international recognition and he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. After many years of art educating and lecturing, he became the head of the York School of Art and Design in 1990.

Robert has exhibited widely in commercial and public galleries, including the Royal Academy, and has carried out major commissions for schools, universities, hospitals and churches, notably the ceramic reredo for the Church of St Augustine’s, Manchester (now a listed building), the three meter ceramic Madonna and Child statue for the Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool and the painted reredos for the Cathedral of St Mary’s, Middlesbrough. His work is in public and private collections in the UK, America, Canada and mainland Europe. Robert has been profiles in documentaries for the Tyne Tees, Yorkshire Television and the Canadian Broadcasting Service.

Robert was born on the edge of the Yorkshire Wolds and, since childhood, has been fascinated and inspired by this spacious landscape where you can see for miles across a vast foreground. He has enjoyed celebrating this aspect in his work along with the pattern and the texture, marks of ploughing and planting, of man made tracks and barns, as well as the seasonal changes from poppies threaded through cornfields to the umber colours of autumn are features he has explored extensively.

For a number of years Robert divided his time between the native Yorkshire and the Languedoc in the South of France. The Languedoc provided, for a him, a very different landscape – proximal and hence more intimate, leading to a greater focus on foreground than distance. However, his interest in the pattern and texture of the landscape remained and, indeed, there is an underlying interest in pattern in much of his work including his portraiture and representational work. He is fascinated with trees and the ways in which light is filtered through tangled and overlapping branches. Some of his paintings are drawn from such details, which are enlarged as if through a zoom lens, focussing on the sun or moon permeating through.

Recent work has included a series of seascapes inspired by the Northumbrian Coast. Again, the sense of space and openness, the large foregrounds and the infinte recessions give a feeling of peace and tranquility. However the simiplicity of the seascape is in marked contrast to the more complex detail celebrated in other aspects of his work.

Robert has worked across a broad range of media, two dimensionally and three dimensionally. Many of his three dimensional pieves have been a celebration of the human form, while others are a suggestion of pollarded trees, shells, crabs, birds and other organis forms. Over the last ten years his work has been mainly two dimensional with a significant proportion of this work in portrait commissions. Portrait painting has presented a fascinating challenge in revealing, subtly, a personality behind a public façade. For portrait commissions, Robert has typically chosen to work in the centuries-old medium of tempera.

Drawing has always been, and strongly remains, an important element in his work as is the craftsmanship of the final piece. He continues to find that experimenting with different materials and processes gives rise to new ideas. For example, the advent of the digital pen has provided and opportunity to draw through the digital medium, requiring the same drawing precision and eye to hand coordination, but allowing the production of limited edition prints that can reach broader audiences than other art forms.

Near the town of Rojales in Spain Robert Brumby owns a small Finca, originally belonging to his brother Frank. The property has a small collection of flats, a pool and a small gallery with a selection of his work including his most recent sculptural work.