Renowned artist Harold Riley’s love of golf is perfectly brought to life in a stunning exhibition of his work which can be viewed during the week of the 10th Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
The exhibition, entitled ‘Following The Open’, was first viewed during the Open Championship in July and by popular demand now enjoys a reprise from Monday, 4 October to Monday, 11 October at the Fraser Gallery, South Street, St Andrews.
The second showing includes 20 brilliant new works, many of which capture the unique flavour of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
The exhibition traces the post-war history of golf at St Andrews through the great characters who have walked the Old Course fairways. One particular selection of which he is rightly proud is a series of studies and drawings of Louis Oosthuizen winning The Open at St Andrews in July, showing him playing and being greeted at the end by his wife and baby. The sketches were the preparatory work for a new life size portrait of Oosthuizen which will hang in the Dunhill Pavillion during the Championship.
Harold Riley first visited St Andrews as a young boy in 1946 and the exhibition contains a vivid collection that captures the colour, the drama and the personalities which have graced this unique sporting arena.
He says: “I am pleased to have been able to record the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, it is a very special event which is always an amazing experience for everyone playing. Everyone I have met acknowledges this to be the greatest challenge of links golf in the world. It is the perfect set up, the difficult and challenging Carnoustie, the lyrical course and views at Kingsbarns and the glorious experience of the Old Course at St Andrews. And everyone wants to be a part of it, both professional golfers and golf fanatics.”
The works are made up of studies in various media such as watercolour, gouache, pencil and ink, a number of illustrated letters, monographs and works of mixed media. Among the great golfers who feature in the collection are Sam Snead, Henry Cotton, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tony Jacklin, Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo.
From Salford in Greater Manchester, the same town as L S Lowry with whom he enjoyed a long friendship, Harold studied at the Slade, in Florence and in Spain before returning to Salford where he has lived ever since.
Christoper Colfer, Chief Executive Officer of Alfred Dunhill, said: “It is our pleasure to support this remarkable exhibition. Harold Riley is a phenomenon. Rarely have sport and art come together so harmoniously in one man’s work. Harold Riley’s love of golf comes over strikingly in his art and I am sure that everyone who visits this exhibition will be as impressed as I have been. The collection demonstrates one man’s devotion to his work and to his love of golf.”
Harold Riley’s connection with Alfred Dunhill goes back more than 15 years, where he has recorded in his own inimitable style many of the highlights of the Alfred Dunhill Cup and latterly the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which is played every autumn at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. Through both, Alfred Dunhill has supported golf at St Andrews for 26 years and this month is celebrating the 10th year of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Louise Fraser, of the Fraser Gallery, commented: “This collection of work is unique; it captures not only the iconic characters who have played at this prestigious event, but the very essence of the competition, the course and the town of St Andrews. It would be true to say that Harold is considered the most important painter seriously involving himself in the golf scene, and this is a rare opportunity to see first hand works that have never been available to view before.”
Harold Riley www.rileyarchive.com
Fraser Gallery www.frasergallery.co.uk
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship www.alfreddunhilllinks.com
Alfred Dunhill www.dunhill.com