Established Artist – 1936-2003
Patrick Procktor RA (12 March 1936 – 29 August 2003) was a prominent English artist of the late 20th century.
Patrick Procktor was born in Dublin, the younger son of an oil company accountant, but moved to London when his father died in 1940. From the age of 10, he attended Highgate School – where his teachers included landscape painter Kyffin Williams – intending to read classics at university. However, his mother’s income was insufficient to fund his further education and after a period working with a north London builders’ merchants 18-year-old Procktor was conscripted into the Royal Navy where, during his National Service, he learned to speak Russian.
Subsequently, while working as a Russian interpreter with the British Council, Procktor began to paint and draw in his spare time, and was accepted by the Slade School of Fine Art in 1958. There he was influenced by artists including William Coldstream and Keith Vaughan, developing a dark, figurative painting style.
In 1962 he became a professional artist and had his first show at the Redfern Gallery in London’s Cork Street in 1963 – a great commercial success that helped confirm his reputation among a wider artistic circle including the theatre and music (he won numerous commissions for pop record sleeves). A year later, Procktor was featured in Bryan Robertson’s New Generation exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery – a show that also raised the profile of fellow artists David Hockney, Bridget Riley and John Hoyland.
Procktor’s work, primarily in oils, acrylics and watercolour, drew on pop art influences, but were also influenced by his travels (he visited Italy, Greece, India, China and Japan, among other places). He was also adept at print-making, producing a sequence to illustrate a new 1976 edition of Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In 1984 he was commissioned to paint a reredos for the St John the Baptist’s Chapel in Chichester Cathedral.
Procktor’s painting “The Guardian Readers” is the cover art for Elton John’s 1976 album, Blue Moves.
Procktor was elected a member of the Royal Academy in 1996 and died seven years later, aged 67.