Cover:  The Seven Legends Self Portrait 1939 Albert Richards



This self portrait was inspired by the work of the Surrealists. Richards saw over 60 Surrealist works in an exhibition at the Walker Art gallery in 1938. He imagines himself in a dream-like landscape with devils and demons. Seven strange incidents take place around him. The left half of the picture is darker than the right. We are not sure why. It may be that Richards originally began another painting underneath.

Liverpool Walker Art Gallery tag 

Albert Richards was born in Liverpool in 1919. He had already served three years as a sapper, followed by a year as an engineer parachutist before being transferred for official duties as a war artist. He found subjects everywhere : anti-tank ditches, searchlight batteries, camouflaged huts, bailey bridges and the myriad of physical tasks of the sapper were all recorded. Perhaps Richards most impressive work of early 1944 were his renditions of parachute training in Tatton Park England (see back cover).  

He was an adventurous watercolourist. Often he ignored the customary rules; a favourite technique was to rub a wax candle into parts of the paper so as to animate the picture surface and create a texture that might evoke the surface of a glider canopy or an abandoned vehicle. As well as being an intuitive colourist, Richards had no fear of the colour black : he used it frequently to unify a picture's design or to control the swathes of orange and red that appear so often in his work. Richards' best work bears comparison with the Great War work of Paul Nash; there is a similar ability to animate a picture through surface design, and a keen understanding of the role of outline in the internal scaffolding of the paintings.

He was killed on 5 March 1945 when his jeep drove over a landmine. He is buried at Milsbeek War Cemetery, near Gennep.