Val Archer was born and brought up in Northampton, her father an engineer, her mother a bookbinder. She ‘always’ painted as a child, even at the kitchen table. Formative influences were her grandmother’s books of The World’s Greatest Paintings and, from the age of 10, attendance at Henry Bird’s Saturday- morning drawing class at Northampton School of Art. Bird was a passionate believer in drawing as the cornerstone of art and in the unsurpassed example of the Italian Old Masters.
Artist Val Archer attended Manchester College of Art and Design and London’s Royal College of Art, where she won the Anstruther Prize for Painting. ‘Paint what you love and work every day’ were lessons gleaned. In the 1970s and 1980s, she combined painting with teaching, but has since become widely known through her illustrative work, notably for The Sunday Telegraph and BBC Good Food, as well as books, most recently The Painter, the Cook and the Art of Cucina with Anna Del Conte.
Since 1999, she has had a house and studio in Tuscany, and finds the winter buzz of London and the summer tranquillity of Italy equally congenial to work. Travel remains an inspiration, and in 2011 she visited Libya’s Roman antiquities shortly before the fall of Gaddafi.