David Tindle RA

b. 1932

Born in 1932, in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, David Tindle was educated at Coventry School of Art from 1945-46. A large portion of his work comprises delicate egg tempera portraits as well as window and door scenes; quiet, detailed still lifes that come close to the emptiness of Vilhelm Hammershøi. However, the apparent silence of these paintings is often interrupted by the objects that are placed within the scenes. They stand for the people who seem to have only just left the room, or for something deeper that can only be glimpsed, or explained to the viewer after the fact. Tate has written of one of his works (Still Life with Plastic Cup and Spoon) that “his still life was prompted by a plastic spoon pushed through a polystyrene cup. Tindle has placed them on what looks like an altar. He sees the cup and spoon as a crucifix and the egg as a container of life. He wrote: ‘Perhaps I see religion frozen in time, but ready to break out of ordinary objects.’”


Tindle had his first solo show in 1954 at Piccadilly Gallery, London, and, in the same year, participated in a mixed exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, where he exhibited intermittently until 1989. In 1983 he was the recipient of the Johnson Wax Award. His first paintings, executed in the late 1950s, were rougher than his later work—gestural, dark depictions of urban scenes and landscapes. They are characterised by a heavy application of oil paint on canvas. By 1957 he had a retrospective at Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery, following which he began to build up an impressive British and Continental exhibition record including appearances in the John Moores exhibitions in Liverpool, in 1959 and 1961.


He taught at Hornsey College of Art between 1959 and 1974, and at the Royal College of Art between 1972 and 1983. Tindle was also for a time Ruskin Master of Drawing at Oxford University, and held a professional fellowship at St Edmund Hall.


Among Tindle's commissions are portraits of Sir Dirk Bogarde (commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery in 1986) and Lord Sainsbury (1990). Tindle was elected Royal Academician in 1979 (ARA 1973) and was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 1981. David Tindle currently lives and works in England, having previously lived in Italy.


He has recently begun to move away from his more recognisable still lifes, and towards dream-like images that tell disturbing tales. Commenting on a 2007 show at the Redfern Gallery, Tindle remarked that “I am no longer content to use the ever ready window-scape, it does not satisfy my many interests and neither does it fulfil the vision of my inner eye”. 


David Tindle is represented by the Redfern Gallery.

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David Tindle RA

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