Joan Riley

Joan Riley (British, 1920-2015)

Joan Riley was born in Barnsley, being the only child of Frank the colliery worker & Margaret a nurse. As a child she was passionate about playing the piano and at an early age gained her letters from the Royal College of Music, aged just 16. She attended a local grammar school, where as a talented student, she flourished moving eventually to Leeds Art School. There, her talents won her a scholarship, the only conferred in the whole of the West Riding of Yorkshire. Her choice was to go to the Slade School of Art in London where she was to meet her husband Cecil, to whom she married in 1942. Their marriage lasted more than 70 years and produced four children, During the Second World War the Slade was relocated to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and eventually they moved to Richmond. During their residency in Richmond they founded the Richmond Art Group which still survives to this day. Joan had a very successful career as a commercial artist illustrating stories for women’s magazines, comic strip cartoons for children’s comics, including ‘Jacki’ and ‘The Eagle’. Joan was also a successful portrait painter receiving many commissions. She also completed a teacher training course and taught at the Gilliatt School in London. When her husband retired they moved to Sennen Cove is West Penwith Cornwall, and became regular exhibitors and very active members of the Newlyn Society of Artist’s, with Joan holding an officer position. Joan & Cecil travelled extensively in Europe including France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Turkey. From Sennen Cove, they moved to Penzance and eventually to Marazion. During this time, Joan’s career developed as a professional artist, exhibiting in Newlyn, Brittany, Tresco & the Isles of Scilly. 1920 Born Leeds – Yorkshire, 1936-38 Leeds College of Art, 1939-42 Slade School – London University, 1942 Married and living in Richmond Surrey – Reared four children, 1952-68 Freelance commercial illustrator, 1968-70 Teacher training – Whitelands-Putney, 1970-72 Supply teaching – London Comprehensives, 1972 A legacy enabled Joan to travel extensively in Europe, 1978 Moved to Cornwall, Exhibitions included:Leicester Galleries, Penwith Gallery – St Ives, Newlyn Art Gallery, PlymoutCity Art Gallery, Falmouth City Art Gallery, Piano Nobile – Richmond, Lorient Celtic Festival – France, C.C.A. Bath.