Edward Middleditch 1923-1987

Edward Middleditch established himself in the mid 1950s as one of the most powerful young painters and draughtsmen in Britain. Initially associated with the kitchen sink painters - John Bratby, Derrick Greaves and Jack Smith - he devoted himself chiefly to natural themes. His work over the following decades concentrated principally on the elements, from the weight of a massive hillside to the lightness of sun dancing on water or darting through foliage. It became increasingly abstract and stylised, inspired by kilims and Persian carpets, and even used stencilling to create a patterned, decorative response to nature.

The Estate of Edward Middleditch is represented by James Hyman Gallery.

Born 23 March, Chelmsford, Essex. Family moved to Nottingham mid 1920s.

Family returned to Chelmsford. Attended King Edward VI Grammar School.

Persuaded to join the army, inspite of wishing to be a conscientious objector.

Joined Middlesex Regiment. On active service in France and Germany.

Severely wounded. Awarded Military Cross and invalided home. Sent to Burma.

After the surrender of Japan, sent to West Africa during Independence struggles.

Again invalided home, this time having caught malaria. Married Jean Kathleen Whitehouse.

Attended Regent Street Polytechnic.

Attended Royal College of Art until 1952 on an ex-serviceman's grant.
Contemporaries included Malcolm Hughes, Derrick Greaves and Jack Smith.
Teachers included John Minton, Ruskin Spear and Carel Weight.

Visited Stuttgart to attend an international student conference. The comparison between German affluence and British austerity emphasised the futility of war.

Part-time teaching appointment, Bath Academy, Corsham.
Second prizewinner in the `Daily Express Young Artists Exhibition' with Chicken in a Flooded Stream. (First prize won by Lucian Freud's Hotel Room).
Commissioned to produce a print for Lyons Tearooms.
Taught at Langford Grove near Barcombe Mills, Sussex.

Drew in Blanes on the Costa Brava.
Middleditch and Greaves families moved to Ivy House, Buckinghamshire.

Painted a mural in collaboration with Derrick Greaves on the theme of the four seasons for the library of Nuffield College, Oxford.
Visited Spain.

Part-time teaching, St Martin's School of Art.

Part-time teaching, Chelsea School of Art.

Taught at Regent Street Polytechnic.
Visited Spain, stayed for six months near Ronda in Andalusia.

Taught at Cambridge School of Art and St Martin's School of Art.

Moved to the Old School House, Boxford, Suffolk.
Awarded Gulbenkian Foundation Scholarship.

Daughter Emily born.

Appointed part-time Head of Department of Fine Art at Norwich School of Art

Elected Associate Member of the Royal Academy.

Elected Member of the Royal Academy.

Visited Dorset each year to make further sea studies.

Position at Norwich School of Art made into a full-time appointment and the C.N.A.A. granted the course B.A.(Hons) status.

Produced a large number of silkscreen prints.

Death of his wife Jean.

Retired as Head of Fine Art at Norwich School of Art
Elected Keeper of the Royal Academy, in charge of the Schools.

A selector of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

Ill health forced him to resign as Keeper of the Royal Academy.

Died 29 July in Chelmsford.

Selected Exhibitions:

Edward Middleditch. Sea and Sky, James Hyman Gallery, London

Edward Middleditch. Water and Light, James Hyman Fine Art, London

Modern Masters, Ava Gallery, Bagnor, Northern Ireland

A Century of Drawings, James Hyman Fine Art, London
of the Kitchen Sink, Mayor Gallery, London

Transition: The London Art Scene in the Fifties, Barbican Art Gallery, London

Kitchen Sink and Other Drawings of the Fifties, Julian Hartnoll and Mayor Gallery, London

A Paradise Lost, Barbican Art Gallery, London
Exhibition Road: Painters at the Royal College of Art, Royal College of Art, London

Rocks and Flesh, Norwich School of Art Gallery, touring exhibition (with Auerbach, Bomberg, Hockney, Moore, Nash, Oxlade, Piper, Ruskin and Sutherland)

The Forgotten Fifties, Sheffield City Art Galleries, touring exhibition (toured to Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, Castle Museum, Norwich, Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry and Camden Arts Centre, London)

British Landscape, Hayward Gallery, London

Books and folios: Screenprints by Derrick Greaves, Robert Medley and Edward Middleditch, Arts Council of Great Britain, touring exhibition

Flowers; Images by contemporary artists, Welsh Arts Council

British Painting 1952 - 1977, The Royal Academy, London

The Wavendon Season 1975, The City Gallery, Wavendon (with Greaves and Jason Monet)

British Painting '74, Hayward Gallery, London

Landscape Painting, Serpentine Gallery, London

Fischer Fine Art, London
nd Ellingham Mill exhibition of paintings and sculpture 1972, Ellingham Mill, Suffolk

Works on Paper, Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford

The English Landscape Tradition in the 20th Century, Camden Arts Centre, London

Helen Lessore and the Beaux Arts Gallery, Marlborough Fine Art, London

Drawing towards Painting, Arts Council of Great Britain, touring exhibition

Summer Exhibition, The Royal Academy, London
Painters in East Anglia, Arts Council of Great Britain, touring exhibition
Painting 50-57, Arts Council of Great Britain
Middleditch and Arnold Van Praag, Roland, Browse & Delbanco, London

British Painting: Today & Yesterday, Tooth's Gallery, London

Critic's Selection, Tooth's Gallery, London

The Graven Image, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London
Paintings by 16 Painters: Aspects of Realism, AIA Gallery
Painting 1700-1960, The British Council, Moscow
British Painters, Austria

The Pittsburgh International, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh

Six Young Painters, Arts Council of Great Britain (including Fry, Hamilton Fraser, Kinley, Smith and Wishart)
Painting 1950 - 57, Arts Council of Great Britain
Exhibition, The Royal Academy, London

Quatro Giovani Pittori Inglesi, Venice Biennale, Venice (with Bratby, Greaves and Smith)
Exhibition, The Royal Academy, London
Forward, South London Art Gallery, London, (with Baines, Coker and Greaves)
The Pittsburgh International, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh

British Painting, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London

Giovani Pittori, Gallerie Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome, (toured to Paris under the auspices of the Congrès pour la Liberté de la Culture)Express Young Artist's Exhibition, New Burlington Galleries, London
Artist's View of an Industry: Recent Drawings and Paintings of the Oil Industry, Arts Council of Great Britain, (with Andrews, Coker and Greaves)
English Painting and Sculpture, Leeds

Heffer Gallery, Cambridge (with Bratby, Greaves and Smith)
Lithographs and Drawings, sponsored by Lyons, The Tea Centre, London

Some Rising Painters, Roland, Browse & Delbanco, London (with Fussell, Neve, Roberts and Whishaw)

Congrès pour la Liberté de la Culture, Paris and Rome

Young Painters, ICA, London (including Andrews, Braithwaite, Cohen, Daniels, Hamilton, Reynolds and Willing)
Contemporaries, R.B.A Galleries, London
Forward, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (curated by John Berger) (including de Francia, Greaves, Lowry, Minton, Moynihan, Spear and Weight), touring exhibition

Artists of Fame and Promise, Leicester Galleries

Summer Exhibition, The Royal Academy, London

Aberdeen City Art Gallery
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
Arts Council of Great Britain
Carlisle Art Gallery
Chrysler Art Museum, Provincetown, Massachusetts
Contemporary Art Society, London
Dudley Museum and Art Gallery
Eastern Arts Association
Ferens Art Gallery, Hull
Leicester County Education Committee
Manchester City Art Gallery
Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia
Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
National Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Norwich Museum and Art Gallery
Nottingham Museum and Art Gallery
Nuffield College, Oxford
Royal College of Art, London
Tate Gallery, London
University of Essex, Essex
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Selected Publications:

Books and folios: Screenprints by Derrick Greaves, Robert Medley and Edward Middleditch, Arts Council of Great Britain, 1981.

Hyman, J., Edward Middleditch: Water & Light, James Hyman Gallery, 2006.

Landscape: Paintings by Norman Adams, Adrian Berg, John Hubbard, Edward Middleditch, Serpentine Gallery, Arts Council of Great Britain, 1974.

Lessore, H., Edward Middleditch, South Bank Centre, 1987.

Middleditch, E., Edward Middleditch, Beaux Arts Gallery, 1962.

Morris, L., Edward Middleditch: The South Bank Centre 1987-88, South Bank Centre, 1988.

© 2019 James Hyman Gallery, PO Box 67698,

Tel: +44 (0)207 494 3857

Privacy Policy

  • James Hyman Fine Art Ltd. Company number 3866544
  • James Hyman Photography Ltd. Company number 9327337
  • VAT registration no. 202526354
  • all works are offered subject to availability and price revision