Miles Peter Richmond was born as Peter Richmond, in Isleworth, Middlesex in 1922. He added the name ‘Miles’ in the 1980s, and became generally known as such. From 1940 to 1943 he attended Kingston School of Art, and then, as a conscientious objector, worked on the lan. This caused a rift with his father, an Admiralty engineer, and was thought by his intimates to account, at least in part, for the palpable emotional depth and passion of his paintings.
In 1946, he began training at the Borough Polytechnic in Southwark (now London South Bank University) under David Bomberg, and in the same year he became a founder member of the influential Borough Group of artists. Fellow members included the Group’s founding president, Cliff Holden, Leslie Marr, Dorothy Mead and Dennis Creffield. In 1952, he and his first wife, Eleanor (later Susanna) Richmond moved to Aix-en-Provence, France, and in 1954 to Ronda, Andalusia, Spain, where he lived and worked for over twenty years. At various times he taught art at Portsmouth Polytechnic and Morley College in London, where his students included Tatiana Litvinov, daughter of Joseph Stalin’s one-time Foreign Minister. Other students included Nigel Caple (whom Richmond met at Portsmouth Polytechnic, and where Richmond came into severe conflict with Marxists who were then dominant in the art department) and Rosie Skaife d’Ingerthorpe, who had graduated from Goldsmiths College.
He moved back to Britain in 1979, later taking up residence in North Yorkshire, where he painted, exhibited and taught. Students came to train with him on study leave, especially from St Albans College of Art, later part of Hertfordshire University. In 1994, he moved to Middlesbrough with his second wife Miranda, where he painted until his death. His final exhibition of paintings opened on 7 November 2008 at the Boundary Gallery in north London; it included a room of his early works and a room of his last paintings.
Richmond had a strong spiritual sense, regarding painting as similar to prayer, and nurtured a lifelong determination never to become what he called a “dealer’s artist”. A month before his death he published a letter in The Guardian that was very critical of a materialistic ethos in contemporary western art, provoked by the auction at Sotheby’s of work by Damien Hirst.