Brush with art muse inspired Ilford painter’s work

PUBLISHED: 17:15 02 November 2016

Artist Ron Pearce with his artwork on display at the Kenneth More Theatre in Ilford.

Artist Ron Pearce with his artwork on display at the Kenneth More Theatre in Ilford.


An 89-year-old artist says he is “one of many” who was inspired to pick up the paintbrush by his former teacher.

Ron Pearce is holding his 15th exhibition at the Kenneth More Theatre which features many recognisable scenes from Redbridge and further afield.

Ron said: “It’s mostly self-taught.

“I met William Finch in 1939 when he was the art master at Beal Grammar School and he took me under his wing.

“I’ve been painting ever since then.”

When Mr Finch died in 2003, his obituary in The Independent described him as a “inspirational art teacher who created several careers from unpromising beginnings.”

He became art master at the school, in Ley Street, Ilford, at the age of 23.

In 1982, the school moved to Woodford Bridge Road and was renamed Beal High School.

Ron said: “He was amazing.

“In the 40s and 50s, he actually drew pictures for the Recorder every week.”

Now Ron, who has one daughter and two sons, says his exhibition highlights changes in the borough over many years.

He said: “I enjoy painting around Ilford and the East End.

“Some paintings, like the one of West Ham stadium, I painted after work, an hour at a time.

“I used to work as an apprentice in the printing trade, before I would return home and paint.”

“Ilford Limited [the Rajar factory] I painted from photographs that I found at Redbridge Musuem

“I did try painting subjects but I was useless!”

Ron’s exhibition is running at the theatre, in Oakfield Road, Ilford, until November 27.

The theatre is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 5pm.

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