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Professor Brian Catling (1948-2022)

The Ruskin is deeply saddened to announce the death of Professor Emeritus Brian Catling, RA, following a long illness. Brian joined the Ruskin in 1991, and served the School for 26 years, before retiring in 2017, after which he remained an active part of our community.

Brian Catling

The School and countless students are very much in Brian's debt. We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and all those who loved him.

UPDATE: Brian's funeral will be private, for family and very close friends only. There will be a memorial celebration of Brian's life at a later date, which will be announced here once details are confirmed.


Professor Jane Garnett, who served for many years as Chair of the Ruskin Committee, offers the following reflections on Brian as artist, teacher, colleague and friend.


Brian Catling, RA as 'Candleye'. Photo: David Tolley, 2020

Brian grew up as a much loved lover of the strange, and became a man uncompromising in his pursuit of the dark as well as the light, fearful and fearless, a lightning flash in a summer cloud.  As the scope of his imagination was extraordinary, so too was his love.  He was generous in all his gifts - funny, irreverent, subversive, as he was loyal, devoted, deeply serious.  He loved his students and his friends, and committed a thousand quiet acts of kindness and support.  The Ruskin was his home for so many years, and he was its soul.  In his integrity he combatted hypocrisy, superficiality and solipsism.  He was a whole person, whose largeness of form and spirit - of laughter and cursing - galvanised and embraced us all.  How much we will miss him.

Jane Garnett

The BBC's Arena devoted a programme to Brian in 2021: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0011v76.

 - Aaron Williamson in Frieze
 - The Guardian


Brian Catling, CUDDY, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Matt’s Gallery, London.