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Friers, Rowel

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ROWEL FRIERS MBE, HRUA (1920 – 1998)

Rowel Friers was born in Belfast, N. Ireland and in 1935 was apprenticed as a designer and lithographer at S.C Allen & Co Ltd. He studied at the Belfast College of Art from 1935 to 1942 and was a cartoonist, illustrator, painter and lithographer.

In 1940, the Portsmouth Evening news became the first newspaper to publish Rowel’s work but it was his political cartoons published throughout the N. Irish “Troubles” that won him international acclaim.

His work appeared in Punch, the Radio Times, London Opinion, the Daily Express, the Sunday Independent, Dublin Opinion, the Northern Whig, the News Letter, the Irish Times and the Belfast Telegraph.

Aside from cartooning, Friers was a leading figure in the Ulster Watercolour Society, and his oil paintings hang in the National Portrait Gallery, the gallery of the Ulster Museum, and many other collections. He illustrated more than 30 books, including John Pepper’s Ulster dialect books

Friers was appointed MBE in 1977 and later was awarded an Honorary MA from the Open University. He was also elected President of the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts in 1994.

He illustrated cartoons in the 1940s, concentrating on political cartooning with the advent of the “Troubles” in the late 1960s. His work appeared in Punch, the Radio Times, London Opinion, the Daily Express, the Sunday Independent, Dublin Opinion, the Northern Whig, the News Letter, the Irish Times and the Belfast Telegraph.

Aside from cartooning, Friers was a leading figure in the Ulster Watercolour Society, and his oil paintings hang in the National Portrait Gallery, the gallery of the Ulster Museum, and many other collections. He illustrated more than 30 books, including John Pepper’s Ulster dialect books and an American edition of the works of W. B. Yeats. He was a keen actor and television performer, with a talent for mimicry, serving as President of the Ulster Association of Drama Festivals and appearing regularly on chat shows. He was awarded the MBE in 1977. He was President of the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts from 1993 to 1997.

His funeral was attended by a large crowd, including politicians from both sides of the sectarian divide – the SDLP’s Lord Fitt and the DUP leader, the Reverend Ian Paisley. He is survived by his wife Yvonne (née Henderson), daughter Vivien and sons Jeremy and Timothy.

Written by Douglas Carson

 

Project categories: Pictures

When ignorance is bliss : 7" x 14" : Mixed Medium : Framed : £350.00 or 10 monthly payments of £35.00
Pearly King & Queen : 7" x 14" : Mixed Medium : Framed : £295.00 or 10 monthly payments of £29.50
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