David Cobley NEAC RP has been a keen observer of people all his life, recording and interpreting his observations in drawings, paintings and writing.



David grew up in a small town called Higham Ferrers in the Midlands. Encouraged by parents, teachers and his Uncle Don he set out to become an artist. But it was his art master at Wellingborough Grammar School, Eddie Phillips, who taught him more than anyone else about his chosen subject.


After a foundation course at Northampton he briefly attended Liverpool School of Art before dropping out after just one term. He funded a course in Comparative Culture at Tokyo's Sophia University some years later by teaching English, and returned to England with his young family in 1984. He worked as a free-lance illustrator near Bath for several years, drawing and painting as much as possible in his spare time.


He was shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award (then sponsored by John Player & Sons) in 1989, and gradually portrait commissions took over from illustration work. Sitters include The Princess Royal, as well as leading academics, actors, scientists, politicians, writers, members of the armed forces and business leaders.


In 1996 he set up Bath Artists' Studios, where he had a studio for many years, before moving to Devizes in 2013. He was elected a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 1997, and six years later a member of the New English Art Club. He has been a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and held solo exhibitions in Bath and London.