Although only a peripheral figure within the Northern School, the painter Nicholas Horsfield can be said to have had a major impact of the arts scene in the North West in which the school prospered.
A southerner by birth and education, he spent almost his entire professional life as artist, teacher and art administrator in Manchester and Liverpool. His role as the Arts Council’s regional officer for visual arts in the North-West between 1948 and 1956 gave him an unrivalled understanding of the thriving Lancashire art scene. Between 1956 and retirement in 1982 he taught at Liverpool College of Art.
He was born in New Malden, Surrey, in 1917, the son of a naval officer. He was educated at Charterhouse School before going on, at the recommendation of the painter Keith Baynes to the Royal College of Art.
After the war, he moved north to take up the Arts Council post in Manchester. There he mixed with painters such as L.S. Lowry, Alan Lowndes and Harry Rutherford, and with gallery owners such as Margot Ingham and Andreas Kalman.
Despite the growing popularity of the Northern School, Horsfield did not embrace the industrial landscape as a theme. Instead, he began looking closely at abstract and surrealistic artist.In pursuing this fascination, he became a bold and expressive painter of considerable technical skill.