Malta & Gozo, An Artists View by Richard Cole


Malta & Gozo, An Artist’s View, was published in Malta by Miller Publications in 2019.

A Signed Edition.

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Richard Cole is an artist! And like most of his breed, life is often looked at from an alternative perspective. This work presents precisely that because it has evolved into a ‘guide’ book with a difference. Often when browsing through books about places you are soon to visit, you are immediately barraged with suggested tourist haunts and must-sees, not to mention the typical bars and restaurants which, in fact, generally favour the tourist en masse. Malta & Gozo, An Artist’s View does exactly the opposite as the author’s main objective here is to share a visual inspiration, one that artist-author experienced as he explored the Maltese islands across different seasons and in all sorts of weather conditions. Cole has managed to capture the soul of a civilisation steeped in paradoxes and visual oxymorons. The result is nothing short of a delight. Be it as a native, as I am, or as a visitor, it is a work that will help pass time in learning and light-hearted glee. Michael Lowell, Chief Executive Officer, Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti.

Richard Cole has created a very personable and collectible book. His richly observed visual commentary is complemented by perceptive text which whilst giving an engrossing view of the island’s monumental scale in both architecture and history, also engages us intimately with many of its individual characters and idiosyncrasies. Derek Nice, Artist and Designer.

Cole draws ably with just a pencil, as exemplified by the endpapers, and, in some of his sketches done in 1975, in the manner of, say, Paul Hogarth, but with a heavier line and a stricter architectural discipline, and he is still tempted to caricature his subjects, so old habits die hard. He tackles landscapes and townscapes in crayon, watercolour, gouache and, occasionally, oils, which he would work on in the studio, but he prefers to paint en plein air, and soak up the atmosphere of the fish market, a jazz concert at the Bridge Bar in Valletta, the interior of a vintage bus or the regattas held in Valetta Harbour. He points out in his informative and chatty way, that other British artists had been seduced by Malta’s raw beauty and historic sites, including Edward Lear, who did hundreds of charming watercolours, and the essentially English cartoonist, H M Bateman, who retired to Mgarr in Gozo in 1964 to paint landscapes in oils on paper. A year later, the English abstract painter Victor Pasmore moved to Gudja, and a gallery dedicated to his work opened in Valetta. Allegedly, he moved there because of the landscape, the architecture, the warm, sunny weather, and the commonality of the English language. When asked whether any of these had an influence on his work, he simply replied, ‘No!’    Don Grant, KCW, London.

Richard Cole’s very amusing and informative book on Malta & Gozo shows his clever observations, as a well known cartoonist, of the inhabitants and fascinating locations to be found in both islands. Unlike most guide books he gets to know the locals, and depicts them with humour and sympathy, as well as showing us little known historical landmarks. Any little island which has two opera houses is a must for visiting, so I am off there as soon as possible. The Professor – 18/07/2020 Foyles website.

Additional information

Weight 1.250 kg
Dimensions 36.0 × 23.0 × 3.0 cm