Stephen John Darbishire was born on 12th December 1940. His father was a doctor whose forbears go back to the Norman invasion and include John Bright and more recently the Wordsworthian scholar Helen Darbishire. His mother was an accomplished singer whose family included artists and musicians, notably the celebrated Liverpudlian James Hamilton Hay.
On leaving school Stephen Darbishire trained under Da Fano and obtained a scholarship to the Byam Shaw School studying under Greenham and Garrard. During his twenties Stephen travelled in Europe and later spent a year as a missionary in West Africa. He then explored the world of popular music where he met his wife Kerry, the great-great-niece of Frederick Delius. She became a stabilizing influence and channelled all his energies into painting and also encouraged his return to Cumberland. In 1983, after struggling for many years, his paintings at last gained recognition. In that year Stephen Darbishire exhibited at The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, The Royal Society of Portrait Painters, The Royal Institute of Oil Painters, The Royal Institute for Painters in Watercolours, The New English Art Club and The Royal Society of British Artists where he subsequently became a member.
Stephen Darbishire paints interiors, Lakeland landscapes, nudes and flowers. His outdoor picnic scenes are both fresh and refreshing, and his interiors make clever use of open windows and doors to insert the picturesque landscapes beyond.
In recent years Stephen Darbishire’s work has subtly changed to concentrate more on colour composition leading towards a more impressionistic approach.