Charles Willmott

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Internationally acclaimed and published fine artist, Charles Willmott has established a reputation as one of the UK`s finest figurative realists.

Exhibited in the UK, throughout Europe, Japan and the USA his highly sought after work is enthusiastically collected and commissioned by an international audience.

Working from his studio in Herefordshire, the rural heart of England, he paints mainly in oils, preparing graphite and charcoal studies prior to the finished work.

Enchanted by the Far East and its culture Charles was determined to do a series of paintings on the Art of Sumo.

As part of the 1991 Japan Festival celebrations he staged his first one man show at The Mall Galleries in London as an associated event to the Festival and this was arranged to coincide with the first ever Grand Sumo Tournament to be held outside Japan at The Royal Albert Hall.

The hierarchy of the Sumo Association of Japan, the Gyoji (referees) and the Rikishi (wrestlers) were notable visitors to the Mall and in a fine gesture of Anglo-Japanese friendship, I was invited to sketch the Rikishi during their practice and training sessions, a privilege rarely afforded to a westerner.

Japanese television and Channel 4 picked up the story, the gallery visits, interviews and good helpings of `between bout` chat from the Royal Albert Hall were transmitted live in Japan. Channel 4 included the piece in their programme `The Rikishi in London` shown in January the following year.