David Thorpe


Having completed school, David studied fine art, illustration and graphic design for six years. at Loughton College, Essex. and Brighton College of Art followed by a post-graduate course at Central School of Art in London.

David worked for six months as a sculptor’s assistant in Brighton and sold his oil paintings of British birds through Windsor and Eton Fine Arts Gallery and Brighton Fine Arts Gallery.

David was employed as a designer and illustrator by Mitchell Beazley Publishers in London, later to become Dorling Kindersley.

In 1975 David moved to Cape Town.

David and Barry Jackson, who is now a world-renowned sculptor formed ‘Services Rendered’, an illustration studio that was to become a leading name in the advertising service industry, producing thousands of illustrations which appeared in advertising and on packaging throughout South Africa.

After twenty five years and thousands of published illustrations…. David was burnt out. He closed his studio door, hung up his pencils and brushes and went into rose farming. For the next three years, he and his wife Fiona, produced some of the most exquisite long stem roses that the Garden route has ever seen. Many pricked and scratched arms later…….his fingers were itching to get back to the drawing board.

In 1994 he decided to concentrate on painting and produced enough work for a sell-out exhibition in Plettenberg Bay

From illustrations of exploded Rolls Royce Engines and auto fuse boxes, Zulu Battles and reconstructions of the original settlement around Kimberley Mine, David’s style loosened. His ‘craft’ has always been, and still is, extremely important to him. Drawing, drawing and more drawing! In his view: An artist is a person who can see, analyse what he sees, and convert three dimensions into two in the case of painting. Colour, theory and composition – perspective, both linear and atmospheric need to be understood. Even if an artist has no understanding of those aspects, he or she must understand light. Without light there is no art.

In 1998 David spent nine months in England where he had work accepted by the Royal Society of Wildlife Artists.  Then returned to Plettenberg Bay where he ran his own Gallery, David and his wife Fiona have now moved back to Cape Town to be nearer their children and granddaughter. David continues to paint commissions, art for galleries and also teaches painting to private clients.

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