Richard Barret Talbot Kelly, RI (1896-1971) 

Richard George Talbot Kelly (1861–1934) was an English orientalist landscape and genre painter, author and illustrator. Kelly was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire, the son of an Irish landscape artist Robert George Kelly. He left school in 1876 to take up work in a firm of cotton traders, but was also taught art by his father, exhibiting under the name R. G. Kelly Jnr.

 

In the early 1880s, inspired by the places he saw while on vacation on an ocean cruise ship, Talbot-Kelly decided to take up his father's profession. He left his employment in 1882, travelled by boat to North Africa, and settled in Egypt in 1883, acquiring a studio in Cairo and becoming fluent in Arabic. He travelled throughout the country, writing about and painting the people and scenes he encountered both in towns and in the desert. He spent a considerable time with the Bedouin tribes who he described and illustrated in his 1902 book, Egypt Painted and Described (A & C Black). As his name became known he also earned an income from private commissions. He stayed in Egypt until 1915 when for reasons of health and age he returned to London - though he continued to paint constantly.

 

His paintings and writing showed a great empathy and respect for local people and culture, especially that of the desert Bedouin Arabs. He also travelled and worked in Burma where he  had a significant impact on the early 20th century development of Burmese painting.

4 Dundas Street New Town EH3 6HZ Edinburgh

Monday - Friday 10 am - 6 pm  Saturday 11 am - 4 pm

 

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