Born in Yorkshire in 1912, Rowland Suddaby grew up in Sheffield, winning a scholarship to Sheffield College of Art before moving to London in 1931.
In 1935 Suddaby held his first solo exhibition at the Wertheim Gallery to great acclaim. His passion for the English landscape and his ability to capture the fleeting moments of cloud and shadow stood out among his British contemporaries. A year later Suddaby received a firm endorsement of his talent when he was given a one-man show with the Redfern gallery, then run by the dynamic and influential director, Rex Nan Kivell. Following the success of this show his reputation grew. The Redfern Gallery held four successive solo exhibitions of his work (as well as a joint show with Walter Sickert) and the Leger Galleries held six. His work was also included in fourteen Summer Exhibitions at the Royal Academy between 1946 and 1967.
In 1939 a move to Suffolk with his family prompted Suddaby to study the works of his predecessors Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable with whom he shared a fascination for the effects of the English climate on the landscape around him. He began to experiment too with the calligraphic forms of tree roots and trunks characteristic of the work of the neo-Romantic group of artists in the 1940’s led by Graham Sutherland, Henry Moore and John Piper.
In 1940 he participated in the ‘Recording the Changing Face of Britain’ project exhibited at the National Gallery and in 1946 he became a founder member of the Colchester Arts Society whose exhibitors included Cedric Morris, John Nash, Blair Hughes-Stanton, Michael Rothenstein and Henry Collins. He was curator of Gainsborough’s Sudbury house from 1968 until his death in 1972.
Rowland Suddaby’s paintings are held in many public and private collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Government Art Collection and the the Arts Council.