Bryan Ingham was born in Preston on 11 June 1936 and raised at Totley in Yorkshire’s Calder Valley, in one of its many terraced houses, and the surrounding moorlands, a landscape that profoundly marked his later artistic language.
For his National Service he joined the RAF, and spent his time in Germany as an airman. Painting in oils in his spare time, by the time he left the RAF he had completed a large number of paintings.
On his return from Germany, he announced to his parents that he intended to become a painter and his father’s delight on thinking that he intended to be a painter and decorator was short-lived, to be replaced by bemused acceptance. Despite their misgivings, his parents supported Ingham staunchly through his early and later career, and his father’s allowance paid Ingham’s rent right through his college career.
He went up to London’s St Martin’s School of Art, where he had the tuition of a fine post-war generation of teachers who helped him to hone his draughtsmanship and other skills.
On graduating he was offered and accepted a post-graduate place at the Royal College of Art, where in his second year he was awarded a Royal Scholarship and was a contemporary of a number of now better-known names including David Hockney.
Ingham had been fascinated by Italy since his youth, undeterred by an early and disastrous visit with Leslie, who during the trip started the descent into the madness that ultimately led to his suicide.
Later in his career, Ingham consciously rejected the prospect of pursuing a career as an established artist, although the RA was open to him, and he went to live in remote cottage on the west side of Predannack Airfield on The Lizard, a location yards from the cliffs and devoid of electricity and running water. He was to keep the cottage for the rest of his life.
During the late eighties he established a relationship with Francis Graham-Dixon, the art dealer, who at that time had a London gallery. This meant that his paintings were professionally marketed for the first time, and prices for his work rose steadily in the last ten years of his life, and subsequently. He purchased a cottage in Helston for his parents, who lived there until their deaths. His friendship with Josephine Gooden resulted in his conversion of a barn adjoining her Lizard farmhouse and he lived there for some years in more comfort than in his cottage which he nonetheless always retained. He moved from there into a fine set of barn-type studios with a patch of garden, a former orchard, quietly situated off the High St in Helston, and it was here, on 22 September 1997, that he died, having stoically endured cancer for nearly a year.