Michael Alford is a British figurative artist, known for an expressive painting style that fuses classical technique with a sharp, modern sensibility. He lives and works in London and exhibits in the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe.

Michael’s work reflects an interest in many types of painting. He is well known for cityscapes of contemporary urban centers—especially London—and for landscapes that capture diverse geographies. He also paints nudes, figures and portraits of individuals and groups.

Michael’s early art training came from his father, a colonel in the Royal Engineers, who taught him to draw in perspective from a young age. After a stint in the Royal Marines, Michael studied Spanish and Arabic at Durham University. He travelled extensively in South America and the Middle East, keeping detailed sketchbooks to record his experiences. He later studied art at the Slade School and the Chelsea School of Art.

Travel remains an important source of inspiration for Michael’s work. Driven by a love for plein air sketching and painting from life, Michael’s recent trips have taken him to India, East Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the Caribbean and North America. He has worked as an offical war artist for the British Military on three occasions: In 2011 and 2013 he accompanied troops to Helmand Province, Afghanistan. In 2016, a third military commission took him to Iraq.

Michael has been awarded prizes including the Stanley Grimm Prize 2016 from the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, the Green and Stone Oil Painting Prize, the Agnes Reeve Memorial Prize for best painting of London, and the Prima Luce Mural prize. He is a former council member of the Chelsea Arts Society. In 2017 he participated in SkyArts Landscape Artist of the Year competition.

Artist Statement

Painting for me is recapturing the experience of seeing, without being too literal-minded about what that experience is or means.

My work always starts with direct observation of the visible world. It can be broad and sweeping, as in landscapes or cityscapes, or very close and intimate, as in figures, nudes or interiors. I often go out looking for subjects and return to the studio with sketches or drawings. These I use as a starting point for a process that turns raw observation, impressions, into something more abstract and evocative.

The process often involves cutting out visual distractions and transient effects so that the resulting image has more power. Time acts as an important filter for me and so does physical distance between the initial sketch and the painting. Both help me distil the memory and pick out the essential forms.

My overall aim is to communicate my experience of seeing, to convey—through the use of light and shadow and mood—some of the magic and mystery I feel when I look at the world.

Contact Michael Alford

For inquiries and to commission Michael Alford.

painting of London by Michael Alford

The Joy of Paint

Critic David Buckman reviews Michael Alford.

Window Shopping by Michael Alford

Recent Work

Information about current and past exhibitions, available work and upcoming events.

painting by paul nash


The latest blogs on events, exhibitions and painting technique from Michael Alford.


For information about individual works, special commissions or representing Michael, contact us using the contact form.

Chloe Gallery
645 Beach Street
San Francisco, California 94109
+1 (415) 749 1000    www.chloefineart.com

Highgate Contemporary Art
26 Highgate High Street
London N6 5JG
+44 (0)20 8340 7564

Jerram Gallery
Half Moon Street
Sherborne DT93LN
+44 (0)1935 815261

Norton Way Gallery
51 Norton Way North
Letchworth Garden City SG6 1BH
+44 (0)1462 685 139

Panter & Hall
27 Bury Street
London SW1Y 6AL
+44 (0)20 7399 9999

Richard Hagen Gallery
Stable Lodge
55/57 High St
Broadway WR12 7DP
+44 (0) 1386 853624 / 858561

Signet Contemporary Art
378 Kings Road
London SW3 5UZ
+44 (0) 20 3105 4820

Thompson’s Galleries
15 New Cavendish Street
London W16 9UB
+44 (0) 207 935 3595

Wimbledon Fine Art
41 Church Road
London SW19 5DQ
+44 (0)20 8944 6593
+44 07836 296 737

The Wykeham Gallery
High Street
Stockbridge SO20 6HE