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Harold Riley (artist)

Harold Riley
Born Harold Francis Riley
(1934-12-21) 21 December 1934 (age 83)
Salford, Lancashire, England, UK
Occupation Artist
Spouse(s) Hannelore (died 1973)
Ashraf (1976–present)
Children Kate, Sara

Harold Francis Riley DL, DLitt, FRCS (Hon), DFA, ATC (born 21 December 1934 in Salford), is an English artist. He sold his first painting to the Salford Museum and Art Gallery when he was 11.[1]


Riley attended Salford Grammar School and in 1951 won a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London. After a one-year postgraduate course at the Slade he won a travel scholarship to Italy, followed by a British Council Scholarship to study in Spain and went on to study in Florence and Spain before returning to Salford, where he has lived ever since. Riley has been awarded honorary doctorates by the universities of Salford, Manchester, London and Florence and completed his National Service as an Officer in 1957. In 1960 Riley returned to Salford, where he now lives and works. He believed his main work was to document the city and his life-cycle in Salford in paintings, drawings and photographs. His deep affection for his home town cemented a friendship with L.S. Lowry which began when Riley was a student; together they worked on a project to record the area and its people, a project which he continued until the end of the 20th century.

Riley’s commissioned painted portraits include Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, Pope John XIII, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, American Ambassador Elliot Richardson, United States Presidents John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford and Nelson Mandela.

Riley is famous worldwide for his sporting pictures, particularly of golf and football. His golf images are in private and public collections throughout the world. His football pictures have centred largely around his links with Manchester United with whom he played as a junior, before going to university. The club has an extensive collection of his work, but the majority remains in his archive.

Thanks to Salford City Council, an archive and studio have been created for him in a conservation area around the old fire station on the Crescent in Salford. Here Riley will continue to work and his drawings, paintings and photographs of the city will be housed here as well as his extensive collection of sports studies. A Charitable Trust has been set up called the Riley Educational Foundation, to look after his life’s work.

Riley has been married twice. His first wife Hannelore died in 1973. They had one daughter, Kate born in 1969. He married his second wife Ashraf in 1976. Their daughter Sara was born in 1977. Riley has three grandchildren.


  1. ^ Neal Keeling (2017-03-17). "It sat on L S Lowry's mantlepiece for years - now it is going under the hammer". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2017-03-17. 

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