The World of Woodroffe

Universe 5 by Patrick Woodroffe

Falmouth Art Gallery
Municipal Buildings
The Moor, Falmouth
Cornwall, TR11 2RT
Telephone: 01326 313863

Free entry Monday – Saturday 10am-5pm

Fantastical creatures and mythical landscapes await you in the magical world of artist and writer Patrick Woodroffe (1940-2014).  Patrick Woodroffe was internationally known for his unrivalled genius as a draughtsman. His work belongs to a tradition begun by Hieronymous Bosch and continued in the 20th century by the surrealists.  He was a highly disciplined worker, his brushes and pens were laid out neatly like implements at a surgeons table.  This show running from 7th February to 18th April 2015 showcases a selection of Patrick Woodroffe’s paintings, drawings and tomographs.  If you are not yet familiar with the incredible work of Patrick Woodroffe then just click here.

The passing of the great Patrick Woodroffe (1940 – 2014)


Patrick Woodroffe was born in Halifax in the north of England in 1940 and by the age of six he was already drawing enthusiastically.  The Patrick Woodroffe painting shown above is actually a massive great painting and this little image can only give you a tiny taste of its amazing grandeur.

Strangely, for a professional artist he was self-taught, a graduate not in fine art but in the French and German languages. The European tradition of fantastic realism, both medieval (Grunewald, Bosch etc.), and modem (Dali, Hausner, Fuchs etc.), gave Patrick Woodroffe his first real ambition: to paint into existence a world that had hitherto existed only within his own fertile imagination.  He left the teaching profession in 1972, the year schools went comprehensive and he never looked back, illustrating within a period of three years almost one hundred book-jackets and record sleeves.

Patrick Woodroffe collaborated with several bands and solo musicians including Dave Greenslade (the retelling of the Pentateuch which is also available as the book ‘Second Earth’), Phil Collins, Judas Priest, Budgie, Mike Batt, The Strawbs, Mike Oldfield, Pallas and Didier Blons.  Several highly successful exhibitions in London led in turn to a series of equally well-received books, for which he provided both text and images (‘Hallelujah Anyway’, ‘Mythopoeikon’ etc).  In 1989 Patrick Woodroffe was brought in as creature concept designer for the motion picture ‘The Never-Ending Story’ and then ‘The Never-Ending Story II’ (TV series).

He undertook general design work for ‘Conte du futur’ (film project) and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (stage production, France etc.). He was always in demand for similar projects, some of them based on his own books. Convinced however, that the most beautiful films come not from books but from ideas that only the cinema can bring to life, Patrick Woodroffe started promoting original film projects of his own.  These included:- Design and TV adaptation: ‘The Dorbott of Vacuo’. Screenplay and concept: ‘Your Place or Mine?’ Screenplay and concept: ‘Coloured Lights’. Stage Musical Adaptation: ‘Hallelujah Anyway’ (English and French versions). Stage play (English & French texts): ‘Victoria’s Magical Bed’.  Musical Comedy (Design + French text only): ‘Le roi de Ia plage’.

Patrick Woodroffe worked not only in the fields of sculpture (‘Le bouclier de Mars’ and “Le bouclier de Venus” — Gruyères Castle, Switzerland) and painting (a series of classic Patrick Woodroffe pictures intended for a major show), but also on a project referred to as ‘Le prisonnier de Gruyères’, a small permanent exhibition in collaboration with Ilford AG forming the basis of a cultural link between Gruyères and Falmouth, Cornwall, a sort of twinning of the two castles.  The next tour of Patrick Woodroffe’s highly popular travelling exhibition ‘Pastures in the Sky’ followed in the years 2000-2001.

Patrick Woodroffe lived the latter part of his life on the south coast of England with his wife Jean who you would recognize as being the only female model he has ever used for his paintings.  They met in their teens and married and were together ever since. Sadly in his later years Patrick developed marked aphasia and lost his ability to speak all the languages he spoke so well (French, German and Spanish) as well as finally his own mother tongue English.  Up until early 2013 he was still painting and drawing although his style had changed quite significantly.  He died on 10th  May 2014.  Patrick Woodroffe was undoubtedly one of the most remarkable and talented artists of all time and his work could easily stand alongsid anything in the major galleries.  Hopefully, one day, it will.  To see more of his amazing artwork click here.

Patrick Woodroffe in Denmark !


Claus Brusen Mikkelsen is checking all the pages of “BENIGN ICONS” before it comes out. Claus Brusen Mikkelsen is now the publisher. It shall be launched including a quite large exhibition of Patrick Woodroffe’s work at his new gallery “FANTASMUS” Groennegade 3, 9300 Saeby, Denmark on Saturday the 14.06.08.

Great news for our continental customers or anyone in the UK who wants to go to Denmark and have the chance to see the work of a living legend. Patrick Woodroffe’s art is not just brilliant, it is astounding! Apart from the sheer vibrancy and original creativity of it the technique (especially the incredibly intricate small details) is really something else. The top off to the awe inspired by seeing Patrick Woodroffe’s original work is when you find out that he is almost entirely self-taught – utterly awesome indeed!

To see Patrick Woodroffe art prints and posters click here.


It is rare for artists to be successful with little or no formal training. Although it is not impossible (Patrick Woodroffe is a perfect example) formal training teaches techniques for transforming your creative energy into a more realistic representation of what you envisage – anatomy, perspective, colour effects and other special techniques.

If you are already at Art College then take advantage of their careers facilities as well as making as many contacts in the art and publishing professions as you can. Write everything down. Only a completely unprofessional idiot believes they will remember everything. Keep notes on all your business meetings and all agreements you make with prospective clients. You may find that the business side of being an artist does not come naturally and can even feel “dirty”. You may feel very reluctant to be involved in business dealings at all. Although artists vary tremendously in their attitudes with some being extremely good at running their own businesses this feeling is shared by other artists including some very famous ones. Don’t feel there is something wrong if business does not come as naturally to you as your creative inspiration does. But if you are not happy or feel incapable with regards to the business side of things then you will need an agent. Take time and take care in choosing someone who can empathise with what you are about and has a good idea where your strengths are so that they can get you the kind of work you do best.

College cannot give you the creative energy, that is both innate and developed through life experience and self-development (some artists are religiously inclined or practice meditation or yoga etc in this respect). College tutors can sometimes prod you into a direction you are not truly comfortable with and you need to be careful about what it is you really want to do. However, illustration and the world of art generally is a very hard place to work and you need to be clear about your goals and also develop your communication skills so you can either handle the business side or at least be able to find a decent agent you can trust and work well with.

Play to your strengths and go for the type of work you really want to do wherever possible though you may need to do something like advertising work in the beginning that may not appeal to you. On the plus side, advertising work is disciplined and structured so it can often help to instill a more professional way of working. There is no “easy road”. Masses of hard work, inspiration and a little luck is the usual combination.

The Spring Fair in Birmingham UK is a good place to meet publishers and others in the market for employing artists to design their products. I’m sure you know you’ll need to put together a good portfolio of your best work and you will probably need to visit many publishers and agents to get sufficient work.

Look also at producing your own merchandise to sell if you have the capital and by all means contact us if you have prints etc that are in our market area that we can sell for you. If you are not sure what you have that might be suitable then look round our ecommerce website to get a feel for what we do.

I hope this helps you in your search for your niche and we wish you every success.