This exhibition follows on from a retrospective at Leeds College of Art in 2010 where Richard Downer trained in the 1950s. Trees have been a source of inspiration for Richard throughout his working life – this exhibition captures his fascination for the longevity, endurance and prominence of trees in our environment.
He was born on the Isle of Wight in 1933 and grew up in Yorkshire. Highgate has been him family home for the last 53 years and the ancient woodlands of Highgate and Hampstead Heath have been a constant source of interest.
Richard has had a busy and remarkable working life as a designer. Following his training and two years’ National Service in the Royal Navy, he began a career in advertising as a visualizer and art director before going solo in 1966.
Richard’s many skills as an illustrator, graphic designer and typographer brought him numerous commissions including stamp design, corporate identities, major reports and accounts. As one of Britain’s leading architectural illustrators he travelled the length and breadth of the country capturing, as line drawings, notable and remote locations for the GPO and latterly BT telephone directories (1967-1985). BT also commissioned a
360 degree panoramic drawing of London from the top of the Post Office Tower that was completed in 1970 (a selection of drawings from this period will also be viewable at the exhibition). He has shown at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and was a Fellow of the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers and Fellow and Past President of the Society of Typographic Designers.
Since 1998, from his Kentish Town studio, Richard has focused on his private passion and profound respect for the lifespan of trees – their longevity and transience, their demise and regeneration.