Bridget Riley


Oil on linen: 64.8(h) x 55.9(w) in /

164.5(h) x 141.9(w) cm

Signed and dated on the overlap: Riley '83; signed, dated and inscribed on the stretcher and reverse: Greensleeves Riley 1983

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BS 262



Born London 1931




Signed and dated on the overlap: Riley ’83; signed, date and inscribed on the stretcher and reverse: Greensleeves Riley 1983

Oil on linen: 64 ¾ x 55 ⅞ in / 164.5 x 141.9 cm



The Artist

Juda Rowan Gallery, London

Pace Wildenstein, New York

The Cranford Collection, acquired from the above in 2008



Nisimura Gallery, Paintings and Drawings, 16th May-4th June 1983

Galerie & Edition Schlegl, 27th January-28th February 1987

Durham, DLI Museum & Arts Centre, Arts Council Exhibition, Working with Colour: Recent Paintings and Studies by Bridget Riley, 3rd March – 9th April 1984, no. 20; this exhibition then travelled to Huddersfield Art Gallery, 14th April-19th May; Hull, Ferens Art Gallery, 26th May-1st July; Stoke-on-Trent, City Museum & Art Gallery, 7th July-11th August; Lincoln, Usher Gallery, 18th August-23rd September; City of Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, 29th September-3rd November; Eastbourne, Towner Art Gallery, 10th November-16th December; Norwich, Castle Museum, 5th January-3rd February 1985; Preston, Harris Museum & Art Gallery, 11th February-16th March; York City Art Gallery, 23rd March-28th April and Sheffield, Mappin Gallery, 11th May-16th June

Galerie & Edition Schlégl, 27th January–28th February 1987

Nuremberg, Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Bridget Riley Paintings 1982-1992, 9th April–23rd

May 1992, p. 62, no.7; this exhibition then travelled to Bottrop, Josef Albers Museum Quadrat Bottrop, 19th July–30th August 1992; London, Hayward Gallery, 17th September–6th November 1992 and Birmingham, Ikon Gallery 16th January–20th February 1993



Madrid, Fundación Banco Santander, Cranford Collection: Out of the House, 2013, p. 106, installation illustrated in colour p. 107

A Pontégnie (ed.), Cranford Collection 4 & 5, St Peter Port, 2014



Greensleeves belongs to a group of paintings made between 1980–86, including Cherry Autumn, 1983 (Birmingham Museums Trust), inspired by a trip to Egypt that Riley made in 1979. During this phase the artist introduced a thicker stripe and, for the first time, used oil rather than

gouache. Greensleeves is representative of the second stage of this body of work in which the black accent is excluded, but white interval remains. Having experienced the Valley of the Kings and the Tombs of the Queens, into which ‘…artists have brought about a feeling of sunlight,

well-being and pleasure…’, Riley explained, ‘Colour of course played an important role in such a scheme. The Ancient Egyptians had a fixed palette. They used the same colours – turquoise, blue, red, yellow, green, black and white – for over 3,000 years. These basic colours were used

for everything… In each and every usage these colours appeared different but at the same time they united the appearance of the entire culture. Perhaps even more important, the precise shades of these colours had evolved under a brilliant North African light and consequently

they seemed to embody this light and even to reflect it back from the walls of the underground chambers which no daylight ever reached.’[1]


Cherry Autumn, 1983

Oil on linen: 218.4 x 182.2 cm

Birmingham Museums Trust




Born London 1931


Born in London in 1931, Bridget Riley spent most of her childhood in Cornwall near Padstow in a cottage with her mother, aunt and younger sister, her father being away in the armed forces during the War.  From 1946-48 she was educated at Cheltenham Ladies College, where she was introduced by her teacher Colin Hayes to the history of painting and encouraged to attend a local life class.  Riley went on to study at Goldsmith’s College of Art from 1949-52 under Sam Rabin and then at the RCA from 1952-5 at the same time as Frank Auerbach, Peter Blake, Joe Tilson and John Bratby. A long period of unhappiness followed her graduation from the RCA as Riley nursed her father after a serious car accident and subsequently suffered a nervous breakdown.  After a number of jobs she joined the J Walter Thompson advertising agency. 


In 1959 Riley took part in a summer school in Suffolk organised by Harry Thubron, and met Maurice de Sausmarez, who became her friend and mentor, going on to write the first monograph of her work.  On tour in Italy in the summer of 1960, Riley painted Pink Landscape, 1960, a key piece in her early development.  Having broken with Sausmarez and suffered an artistic crisis, her attempts to create an entirely black painting produced her first black-and-white works.  She held her first solo show 1962 at Gallery One, London and won the International Prize for painting at the 34th Venice Biennale in 1968, the first British contemporary painter and first woman ever to win. 


The work of Bridget Riley is represented in the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The British Council; the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; the Berardo Collection; Sintra Museum of Modern Art, Lisbon; the Arts Council Collection Hayward Gallery, London; the Tate, London; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Neues Museum, Nurnberg; the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; the Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and the Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Kitasaku.

[1] The artist, ‘A Visit to Egypt and the Decoration for the Royal Liverpool Hospital’, 1984, The Eye’s Mind: Bridget Riley, Collected Writings 1965–1999, (ed.) Robert Kudielka, Thames & Hudson, London, 1999, p. 110.

Post War BritishBridget Riley