Fred Cuming, A Poet in the Landscape

Fred Cuming – ‘Evening Walkers, Camber’, 20th century oil on board, signed recto © the artist/Toovey’s 2020

The artist Fred Cuming, RA, is considered to be one of the finest landscape painters of his generation. He lives and works in East Sussex.

Born in 1930 Cuming studied at the Sidcup School of art in the years after the war. Between 1951 and 1955 Cuming studied at the Royal College of Art in London gaining a Rome Scholarship. He was elected a Royal Academician in 1974 (ARA 1969). He is also a Member of the New English Art Club and an Associate of the Royal College of Art.

Writing about Fred Cuming the biographer Richard Holmes describes him as ‘A truly visionary painter.’ Cuming conveys recognisable scenes transforming them with a poetic intensity born out of light and colour.

Fred Cuming gives voice to his life and inspiration as an artist in the insightful short film Portrait of an artist (Fred Cuming) commissioned by the Royal Academy in 2015.

He describes how he grew up in Woolwich fascinated by the boats and water, painting even as a young boy.

In his Sussex studio he works on numerous paintings at the same time each informing the other as they develop. Form and structure in the scene becomes apparent as he commits the scene to paper.

In the film Cuming reflects how “Camber Sands on the coast beyond Rye is one of my favourite locations. In the summer the beach can be crowded with holiday makers. On other days I might be the only person in miles of open space…living by Camber Sands as I do now I’m confronted by nature’s thousand different aspects and moods. The problem presented by the simple seascape, which is about nothing more than light and space, I find particularly intriguing.”

His oil on board ‘Evening Walkers, Camber’ is a beautiful impression of the experience of people gathered in the landscape, the cool water and sand upon their feet, conversations carried on a gentle breeze, the sense of freedom in the horizon where the sky meets the sea. The scene is recognisable and abstract, a fleeting moment in time.

Fred Cuming – ‘Morning Glory’, 20th century oil on canvas laid onto board, signed recto © the artist/Toovey’s 2018

The cool morning light in the studio is finely captured in ‘Morning Glory’ – the delicate brush work and palette transcends our immediate perceptions. Fred Cuming’s painting stills us, demands our attention, and allows our imaginations to inhabit this precious moment in time.

This questioning artist’s excitement in the world and the landscapes he paints remains undiminished. Cuming reflects “…the more I discover the more there is to discover.”

To discover more about this important Sussex artist visit