Harold Mockford (b. 1932) is one of the best known and most loved Sussex artists.
After leaving school at fourteen and training to become a dental technician, in his twenties Mockford took up painting and joined a group of artists in Eastbourne.
With encouragement from the abstract painter and Towner curator William Gear, Mockford's career flourished in 1959 when he had his first solo show in Eastbourne and exhibited with the London Group of which Gear was a member. A solo exhibition at the Thackeray Gallery followed, but Mockford was reluctant to commit himself to painting full-time and the self-promotion required to rely on art for a living. He married Margaret in 1954 and they have raised five children together.
Gear saw the potential in Mockford’s work and was instrumental in encouraging and supporting him – not least by purchasing his paintings for Towner’s permanent collection who now hold a total of 14 Harold Mockford works.
His inspiration comes from his family and the South Downs landscape – in particular around Eastbourne, where he lived until 1996 when he moved to Newhaven. He depicts the familiar rolling hills, woodland and coastal scenes of East Sussex, but transforms them into the extraordinary through his use of deep, rich colours and surreal perspectives.