Stan Richards

Popular Burton artist and barber Stan Richards dies aged 93

Well-known Burton artist and barber Stan Richards who once had a painting exhibited at the Royal Academy in London has died at the age of 93.

Mr Richards’ depiction of the Bass Brewery cooperage, featuring 80 men standing to attention during an inspection by the owner, was displayed in the academy alongside many other great works.

It was the pinnacle of his achievements as a painter, made all the remarkable by the fact that for many years he was blind in one eye and could barely see out of the other.

Mr Richards was also a skilled hairdresser, who owned seven barber shops in the town, and set the style for fashionable men in the swinging sixties.

Angela Bowyer, of Woodville Co-operative Funeral Care, said it was an honour to have handled the arrangements of such a local celebrity.

“Some of his favourite jazz music will be played at the church and his sketch books will be on show at Burton Albion afterwards in celebration of his life,” she said.

“He will be remembered as a popular, charitable and extremely talented man.”

One of five children, Mr Richards was brought up around Dunstall and attended Rangemore School. His interest in art was sparked at the tender age of four when his father gave him a bucket of water and a brush, and let him paint the garden fence. He noticed that when the water was fresh it was a different tone to when it was drying. This fascinated him and led to a lifelong passion for art.

He went on to enjoy many hours behind the easel, working in all media, from watercolours to oils, acrylics and pastels. He was known throughout Staffordshire as an accomplished landscape artist, but could also turn his hand to abstracts, townscapes and portraits, including one of himself.

During the Second World War the father-of-two saw active service with the RAF in Burma which resulted in him developing skin cancer later in life. His creativity, however, never deserted him, despite also suffering a heart attack ten years ago and enduring many eye operations.  Mr Richards loved growing plants and when he was 90 taught himself to play the tenor saxophone. He adored jazz too and painted many famous jazz musicians.

Paying tribute to him, his widow Pat, from Stretton, said: “What I will remember most about him is his fortitude and his enthusiasm. He painted every day. He had only got sight in one eye and was losing his sight in the other.

“He was so well known in the town for being a barber. He was one of the first to create these styles that were in fashion in the sixties. He could do anything they asked him to do.”

A founder member of Burton Art Club where he met his third wife Pat, he also exhibited his work in Lichfield, Derby and Birmingham. He was a prolific artist, selling hundreds of paintings over the years, including scenes of Burton, to raise money for the Midlands Air Ambulance. He carried on hairdressing till he was 90, and held his last exhibition at Burton Library, just four months before he died.

Mr Richards is also survived by his sons Russ and Lee, grandchildren Alex, Ben and Christopher, and great grandson Daniel.

His funeral was held on August 25, 2016 at St Mary’s Church in Stretton.