Harold Riley 1934-2023

Harold Riley was born in Salford in 1934 and attended Salford Grammar School. He sold his first painting to the City Art Gallery when he was 11.

In 1951 he won a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London. After a one year postgraduate course at the Slade he won a travel scholarship to Italy, followed by a British Council Scholarship to study in Spain and went on to study in Florence and Spain before returning to Salford, where he has lived ever since. Harold has been awarded honorary doctorates by the Universities of Salford, Manchester and Florence and completed his National Service as an Officer in 1957.

In 1960 Harold returned to Salford, where he now lives and works. He believed his main work was to document the city and his life-cycle in Salford in paintings, drawings and photographs. His deep affection for his home town cemented a friendship with L.S. Lowry which began when Harold was a student; together they worked on a project to record the area and its people, a project which Harold continued until the end of the twentieth century.

Harold’s commissioned painted portraits include Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, Pope John XIII, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, American Ambassador Elliot Richardson, United States Presidents John F. Kennedy and Gerald Ford .

Harold is famous worldwide for his sporting pictures, particularly of golf and soccer. His golf images are in private and public collections throughout the world. His football pictures have centered largely around his links with Manchester United with whom he played as a junior, before going to University

Harold Riley was a parishioner attending St Luke’s church for many years. When St Luke’s, like all churches in the diocese, was raising money to contribute to the costs of the Pope’s visit in 1982, Harold produced a drawing of the Pope, from which the proceeds of the sale would go to this fund. St Luke’s has a number of works of art by Harold Riley including the Stations Of The Cross (2003). More recently the north stained glass window of Our Lady is based on his original work “Our Lady of Salford”, and the Chapel to Our Lady features a number of his drawings of Our Lady. Many of our parishioners are also proud owners of their own “Riley” artwork drawn on one of our newsletters and then handed to the subject of his sketching after Mass.

In November 2017 Harold Riley was made an Honorary Freeman of the City of Salford in recognition of his lifetime’s work. Harold Riley died 18th April 2023 at the age of 88


Artist’s website http://rileyarchive.com/

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