Huge collection of Harold Riley’s work showing at Salford Museum

The main exhibition celebrating the life and talent of Salford’s artist, Harold Riley, is now open at Salford Museum and Art Gallery.

Every Line is Me showcases more than 100 pieces of work across two sites; a vast range showcasing the impressive breadth of his work created between the 1950s, up until Harold’s death in April 2023 aged 88.

Harold Riley

Harold Riley

Harold’s relationship with Salford Art Gallery started at the age of 11 when he sold the venue his first painting.

Born in 1934, he attended Salford Grammar School and at 17 won a scholarship to The Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London.

He then went on to study at the British School in Rome and Madrid University.

A close friend mentored by LS Lowry

Harold Riley
Riley’s drawing of Lowry (L) and The Knocker Upper (R)

A close friend and mentored by LS Lowry, Harold sketched, drew and painted everything and anything.

After his studies he completed national service, returning to Salford in the 60s to pursue his dream of becoming a world-renowned artist.

He sketched and painted a wide range of subjects from the backstreets of Salford, local landmarks and everyday people through to world figures and famous people including JFK, Prince Philip, Pope John Paul, Nelson Mandela, and sporting legends including Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson.

Sir Alex was known to collect his work too.

Bringing together all of Harold’s many disciplines and subject matter including painting, drawing, digital fusions, and photography, Every Line is Me tells the story of the highly-generous Salford-born man, showing works that portray places and people that were important to him including places in Salford, LS Lowry and his family, with the addition of quotes and stories from his family and friends.

Salford Museum and Art Gallery

The wider celebrations of Harold’s life includes a unique collaboration between Salford Museum and Art Gallery and Pinc College which is an exhibition of Harold-inspired portraits created by neurodiverse students aged 16-25 until June 25th and a fun exhibition dedicated to Harold’s love of dogs in July at Ordsall Hall.

Dogs were an important part of Harold’s life and this playful exhibition takes place July 21 2024 – June 1 2025.

Salford Museum and Gallery exhibitions manager, Amy Brunn

Salford Museum and Gallery exhibitions manager, Amy Brunn, said: ‘We are honoured to showcase the wonderful work of Harold Riley, celebrating his life and talents. We hope to welcome many visitors from around the world to appreciate the legacy of Salford’s immensely talented artist.

Harold’s wife, Ashraf, says: ‘Harold loved the City of Salford, the city of his birth, his childhood, and where he grew up to be an artist as a young man.

“His city cemented in him admirable qualities of love, loyalty and an unstoppable sense of duty and honest service.

“His genuine determination was to simply portray what he saw in Salford, from its streets, buildings, shops, hospitals, families, children and its dogs. Honest cities and honest families produce honest citizens – Harold was one of its honest citizens.”

Harold’s work at the main Every Line is Me Exhibition will be on display until Sunday 27 April 2025 in the Langworthy Gallery, Salford Museum and Art Gallery, The Crescent, M5 4WU and Ordsall Hall M5 3AN.

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