Audrey Pilkington was born in 1922 at Heaning in the Forest of Bowland . It was a remote , beautiful landscape and because of its isolation Audrey was sent away, aged only 7 yrs, to board at the convent of NÅtre Dame, Blackburn, Lancashire, and later at St. Hilda’s, Whitby, Yorkshire.
It makes me so pleased to know that her parents were eventually asked to take her away as she refused to cooperate and was only interested in art, so at 17 she attended Lancaster School of Art, where she was influenced by the dedicated teacher, artist and poet, Ronald Grimshaw. If you are at all fan of Blondes Fine Art and have read our pages and blog dated 7/12/2015, about John Aldridge RA, you will immediately recognise the name Grimshaw as he also taught the photographer and writer Geoffrey Ireland whose collection of work is in the National Portrait Gallery Collection and includes many famous artists from the 1950's when he became a tutor at the Royal College of Art Graphic Design department.
Audrey Pilkington studied at The Slade School of Art . Her intention had been to take the exam to go to the Royal College, but her father knew an art critic who advised him to send her to the Slade. The Slade had relocated to Oxford because of the war and was poorly staffed at that time.
Somebody else who had relocated to Oxford shortly after war broke out was the Vorticist William Roberts LG, RA (1905-1980).He remained there until 1945 . Gilbert Spencer R.A. (1892-1979), brother of Stanley Spencer, was a good friend of Audrey and he and his wife were frequent visitors. Audrey Pilkington got to know them well. Most of the male students were away fighting abroad but there remained a small group of students who, for one reason or another, were not able to enlist, and Audrey made friends with Bernard Dunstan R.A . and through him her husband-to-be, Patrick Heriz-Smith, who was Bernard’s flat mate.
Adrian Heath (1920-1992) was also a very close friend. Audrey designed book jackets for Chatto & Windus and Jonathan Cape. In fact it has emerged recently that she was just 18 years when she began her career as an illustrator. She also drew for Vogue and illustrated ‘After Bath’ by Vaughan Wilkins for Cape - the original pen and ink drawings still survive in a hand made and painted box that she treasured for her lifetime.
Patrick was offered Head of the Art Department at King Alfred School Plon in Germany from 1947-54 so the family moved there for the period of his employment.
On her return to the UK Audrey Pilkington settled in , Suffolk and was a member of the Colchester Art Society and exhibited in Essex, Suffolk and London (including the Redfern Gallery and Heals). In 1961, she and Patrick bought Clock House, Bruisyard, where from 1964 they converted areas into art studios for local and residential users.
Audrey moved to Resolven in West Glamorgan in 1988. Her work has been shown at Swansea University Gallery. She also produced a particularly fine series of Scottish landscapes in pastel, which were exhibited at Neath Museum.
Audrey Pilkington died in 2015 in Wales.
This webpage is currently being developed and incomplete so do contact us if you have an interest in this wonderful artist.