Richard Beer was a painter and printmaker who focused on architecture and landscapes. He studied at the Slade School of Art from 1945 to 1950 and then studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris on a French Government Scholarship. He then worked and studied at Atelier 17, an art school and studio run by the artist Stanley William Hayter (arguably one of the most significant printmakers of the 20th century). The atelier was highly influential in the study and promotion of 20th-century printmaking, and it was here that Beer developed his etching skills.
Beer then went on to work for the Royal Ballet choreographer John Cranko, designing the sets and costumes for “The Lady and the Fool” at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. He also produced several book illustrations and book jacket designs.
Beer taught printmaking at the Chelsea School of Art for 40 years and was also a founding member of the Printmakers’ Council. He travelled widely through Italy, France, Spain, and Morocco, sketching prolifically and painting rural and architectural landscapes. Beer would then make etchings and paintings in his Primrose Hill studio, inspired by the landscapes he had sketched and seen while travelling. Probably his greatest work was a collaboration with John Betjeman to produce a portfolio of prints of ten Wren Churches in the City of London for Editions Alecto, copies of which are in The Government Art Collection. That collection contains a total of 54 prints by Beer, and the Tate Gallery’s collection holds another seven. His series of Oxford architectural engravings was also produced for Editions Alecto, as was a series of predominantly architectural views in Southern Europe.