Photograph by Nick Lockett
Richard has a large collection of study skins, built up over 40 years, these help him achieve the life-like detail, a characteristic of his work which he sells all over the world.
'Its all about the fall of light onto fur or feather which is important for me to interpret on the canvas' He says.
Richard was born and raised in Yorkshire, where his upbringing on the family dairy farm had a huge impact on his future work.
His grandmother was a biologist and it was she who encouraged him to take an interest in the natural world around him. Much of his free time was spent observing the birds, butterflies & animals to be found in the countryside on or near the farm, he was never without his German Pointer and even had a pet magpie called 'Spike' who slept on his bed head and hid silver milk bottle tops in his shoes! His love of wildlife stems from this early age and has developed and grown with time.
In his teens he bred Pheasants, Quail, Ducks and Finches and birds remain his first love.
"I built a huge aviary with my dad", Richard recalls, "I would sit in there among my birds for hours, watching them, sketching them, and observing how they interacted with each other, their mood changes, their busy moments and their quiet and the ebb and flow of their daily lives. I remember all this now when I paint, I am imagining my subjects circumstances and next possible movement, this helps create the reality".
Self - taught, Richard began painting at the age of five and sold his first pictures when he was only thirteen - a Bullfinch and a Chaffinch. He held his first exhibition in 1977 aged fourteen and first exhibited with the Society of Wildlife Artists aged just 22.
By the mid 1980's, Richard was selling his paintings at the now defunct Stud Farm Gallery on the Chatsworth estate. This lost gallery is now the restaurant at the Chatsworth Farm Shop. His sales were quite prolific, he often delivered new pictures in the morning, returning home to Yorkshire in the afternoon to be greeted with a telephone call saying all the new work was already sold!
In later years, Richard sold paintings at Harrods in their picture gallery and then through his own gallery in North Yorkshire. He returned to Derbyshire with his wife in 1998, later opening his current gallery in Pilsley, just a stone's throw from the farm shop where his career had really begun.
"Chatsworth has always been a draw for me, it made sense to have a gallery here, it's a spiritual home. "I draw much inspiration from the birds and animals to be found right on my doorstep".
Even though his clients now come from all parts of the world, some customers are those who bought his paintings in his early years, 30 years ago.
Although Richard won the British Watercolour Society's top award in both 1989 and 1990, he has little interest in competition or outside exhibition but does consider invitations on their own merit.
He has been commissioned to produce work for countless companies, charities and private clients over the years but he is happiest painting the native wildlife to be found in the British Isles and exhibiting in his own gallery.
Every one of Richard's paintings include his unigue trademark - a small image of a fly.
First introduced into his early paintings of birds to give the subject a point of interest, the now famous fly became a fixture in every piece from 1989 - but it takes a keen eye to spot it!