Richard Firth (b.Yorkshire 1971) has become one of the world’s leading marine artists. Producing only eight to nine paintings a year, commissioned work is often resigned to huge waiting lists and pieces have sold for up to £40,000.
Born in Hull, Richard had a natural talent for art at school but it was not until 1996 that he began painting. He started work at a butcher’s... shop as a Saturday boy aged 13. But it was years later, when he delivered a consignment of meat to a marine artist in his studio, that he was inspired to have a go.
He trained himself with basic paint-by-numbers kits, but soon began selling his own work and was able to give up his day job.
He says "I enjoyed art at school but I ignored any talent I had and went to work as a butcher. But when I took up painting by numbers and then eventually sold my first original painting I knew I wanted to be an artist. It has given me freedom so I can take time off to go sailing, which helps improve my paintings of boats. I feel very privileged but it’s been a hard slog".
Firth was asked to exhibit at the prestigious, Ferens Museum and Art Gallery, Hull, England in their Winter Exhibition of 1996. Since then, his marine paintings have become highly sought after by collectors of fine marine art. He is considered among the greats such as Steven Dews and Stephen Renard.
Now his stunning seascapes are sold in some of the most prestigious auction houses across the world, including Christies in New York. All of this is even more remarkable when you consider that he had never been sailing before he started painting. Nowadays, however, he is out on the ocean waves all the time – for the fun of it and to hone his skills.