Charles Willmott Biography

Born in Stratford-up-on Avon, the only son of artist and metalcraftsman Hague Willmott.
Charles, although for the most part self-taught, studied originally at the Birmingham College of Art. He works from his studio attached to his home in Herefordshire, the rural heart of England, where he lives with his wife Susie. As a contemporary figurative realist he prepares graphite & charcoal studies before painting in oils. Charles has been painting since the early 60’s and in the mid to late 80’s he acquired a passion for the Orient and its cultures. During 1991 his first one-man show was staged at London’s Mall Galleries and was unique in featuring Japan’s national sport, Sumo. In more recent times Charles has worked particularly with the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Royal Ballet. In the case of the former covering a number of productions including Tim Albery’s Macbeth and Michael Attenborough’s direction of The Herbal Bed and in the latter working extensively with principal dancers including Miyako Yoshida and Darcey Bussell. In the years 2000 and 2003 this dedication to the stage and performance achieved him a finalist place in the prestigious Garrick/Milne Prize and today Charles’s work disciplines are divided fairly equally between Portraiture, Female Form and Dance.

Artist's Statement

As subject matter I would probably have to confess to a near obsession with dance, particularly the ballet. In classical roles I've enjoyed the privilege of working with many greats, like Darcey Bussell, Miyako Yoshida, Monica Zamora, Kevin O'Hare, Catherine Batcheller and Joe Cipolla. I have experienced the energy of contemporary dance whilst working with the Rambert Dance Company, particularly with choreographers Christopher Bruce and Wayne McGregor...of course Wayne is now breathing new life into the ballet at the Royal Opera House in London. Over the years I've made several detours working with the Flamenco dance sensation Joaquin Cortes, classical Indian dancers Sonia Sabri and Chitraleka Bolar and many other forms of dance. My admiration for the beauty and grace of dancers has deepened my interest in distilling the essence of the female form. My aim, to capture the mobility, rhythms, fragility, strength and sensuality of woman. The girls with whom I work hail from all walks of life, some are models but many have ordinary lives and jobs where they have no need to expose themselves to a critical eye. It’s a matter of delicate negotiation as to how much of their bodies or themselves they would like to reveal. I work from my studio, attached to my home in Herefordshire, the rural heart of England, with my wife and our two cats and I continue to be inspired by and dedicated to three main disciplines, dance, female form and portraiture.