Retracing Ribeiro Press Release

13 September 2016


Press release

Retracing Ribeiro

Exhibition 26th October 2016 – 19th March 2017


As part of the 2017 UK-India Year of Culture, a new temporary exhibition at Burgh House will mark the launch of a year-long Heritage Lottery Fund supported programme exploring the life and work of Hampstead painter, Lancelot Ribeiro.

Ribeiro (1933-2010) was one of the most original of the Indian artists who settled in Britain in the post-war period. He first arrived in a bomb-damaged Britain in 1950 staying with his brother (the well-known artist FN Souza) in Chalk Farm, to study accountancy but soon abandoned this for life drawing at St Martins School of Art before his artistic development was interrupted with conscription into the Royal Air Force. On his return to India, he began writing poetry and painting and soon a string of successes followed his first sell-out exhibition in Bombay in 1961, gaining him considerable attention and the support of several notable patrons.

Settling permanently in Britain in 1962, he established his studio in Belsize Park and his work was soon showing in some of London’s leading art galleries including the local Mount Gallery, the New End Gallery and the Everyman Foyer Gallery which have long since disappeared. He was a passionate advocate for artists from the subcontinent, establishing such groups as the Indian Painters Collective (1963) and Indian Artists UK (1978) and in 1980 sought to bring the ‘Arts of India’ to Burgh House. As a Camden resident, he participated in the borough’s innovative ‘Picture Loan’ Scheme in the sixties. His last significant UK showing was in 1986/87 with a retrospective at Swiss Cottage Library opened by the late MP, Tony Banks. He lived the last 30 years of his life in an attic flat on Haverstock Hill which by the time of his death was crammed full with a lifetime’s work.


A skilled painter in oils, Ribeiro’s 1960s paintings depict spires, domes and townscapes painted in a bold and expressionist style. However, soon finding traditional oils inadequate to cope with a natural inventiveness, Ribeiro sought new effects with oils and polyvinyl acetate mixes - the forerunner of acrylics now on the palette of artists worldwide. Over the next 50 years, a restless imagination prompted works which included flying and tangled townscapes under explosive skies, brilliantly-coloured surreal scenes, playful wood sculptures and ceramics.

A limited series of the artist’s naturalistic watercolours, inspired by Hampstead Heath, will be the central focus of the temporary exhibition at Burgh House alongside a few iconic pieces selected from this prolific artist’s body of work. The exhibition will also feature an extensive heritage display from the Ribeiro Archive, chronicling the cultural scene in Camden from the post-war era onwards.

Curator Rebecca Lodge says:

It has been three decades since Lancelot Ribeiro’s work was exhibited at Burgh House, so we are especially delighted to have been invited to host this pivotal exhibition in 2016. Burgh House and our collections represent local culture and innovation, and Ribeiro and his work form a significant part of the cultural history of Hampstead, so we naturally wanted to be involved. The exhibition will not only showcase Ribeiro’s art but will present archival material alongside it, to build a picture of the artist and his life in Hampstead.

Daughter and programme organizer Marsha Ribeiro says:

The launch of this project at Burgh House has a particular poignancy for me, as it retraces an initiative my father had coined in 1980 when he sought to bring a taste of the visual and literary arts from India to the House. As Hampstead has long been a cherished home to our family, it is fitting that this distinct series of watercolours, having been inspired by Hampstead Heath, should be unveiled in this exhibition after many years of having lain hidden from public view.

On 23rd November at 7pm, arts writer, journalist and the author of ‘Lancelot Ribeiro: An Indian Artist in India and Europe’ David Buckman will talk about the life and work of this pivotal artist in Camden.


Further enquiries:

For more information, quotations or additional images, please contact:

Rebecca Lodge

Burgh House Curator



Telephone: 0207 4310144


Marsha Ribeiro

Project Manager




Emily Phillips

Creative Director




Further notes for press:

Retracing Ribeiro



Burgh House & Hampstead Museum


26th October 2016 – 19th March 2017



Retracing Ribeiro Art and Archival Exhibition

23rd November 2016


Ribeiro Rediscovered

David Buckman – Arts Writer, Journalist and Author of ‘Lancelot Ribeiro: An Artist in India and Europe’

The British Museum


6th November 2016, 15:00-16:15


Remembering Lancelot Ribeiro and Other Indian Artists in 1960s Britain

Nicholas Treadwell - Gallery Proprietor, Austria


Victoria & Albert Museum


17th March 2017, Evening


Ribeiro – A Celebration of Life, Love and Passion


Ribeiro: A Lifetime of Experiment - From Bombay to the V&A

David Buckman – Arts Writer, Journalist and Author of ‘Lancelot Ribeiro: An Artist in India and Europe’


Ribeiro: Music and Art - The ‘Crushed Crystal Sound of Colour’

Gerard McBurney - Writer, broadcaster, composer and arranger


Camden Local Studies & Archives Centre


6th February – 31st March 2017



Heritage Exhibition


21st February 2017



Ribeiro Rediscovered

David Buckman – Arts Writer, Journalist and Author of ‘Lancelot Ribeiro: An Artist in India and Europe’


About the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF):

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk  @HLFLondon

Further information

Heritage Lottery Fund: Felix Gott, Communications Manager, 020 7591 6138 or felixg@hlf.org.uk

Burgh House & Hampstead Museum:

Burgh House is a dynamic arts centre, recital space, museum, gallery, gift shop, private hire venue and home to many long established Hampstead societies. The House is run by a small, independent, self-funded charity. A fine Grade I listed Queen Anne mansion built in 1704, residents have ranged from artisans, bankers, politicians and clergymen, to Hampstead’s most famous spa physician and Rudyard Kipling’s daughter. The House was even used for a brief spell as a militia headquarters. Burgh House and Hampstead Museum holds a collection of over 4,000 documents, objects, photographs and artworks, and has a permanent display that charts the history of Hampstead, as well as two rooms for temporary exhibitions. Burgh House runs an extensive programme of education and events for all tastes and ages. The licensed Buttery Café is a popular meeting place, serving homemade seasonal dishes and afternoon tea. The modern Peggy Jay Gallery hosts regularly changing contemporary art exhibitions by local and international artists.


Burgh House & Hampstead Museum

New End Square

London NW3 1LT

Open Wednesday-Friday & Sunday, 12-5pm, admission free