The President of the Society, Richard Wildman, sadly died 28 July 2018
Richard had been President of Bedford Art Society for quite a number of years. He had always been a very supportive member and would always be seen sitting quietly at the back of a monthly Friday meeting of the Society. He considered it an honour when asked to open any of the Society’s exhibitions and took a great interest if looking at the paintings and talking with the artists. He was also a great supporter of local businesses and buildings.
I first met Richard and his mother early in the nineties when I visited his bookshop situated in Mill Street at the corner of Howard Street and then later it became known as Frescoes, the coffee shop. His knowledge of books and their authors was somewhat phenomenal, as well as where it could be located in the shop. They were both busy unpacking several large cardboard boxes that contained at least 50 or 60 different book titles each. I think that Richard had bought them at a book auction and had taken delivery that morning. When I asked if they had a copy of a book I was looking for, Richard responded, without interrupting his unpacking, 'Try the shelving on your left. If I have it, it will be on the 3rd shelf down'- and there it was.
His knowledge of Bedford and its local history was amazing. He didn't have to look things up, it was already locked inside him. He had a mind and sight that recorded buildings, places, times and people involved with them. I had the great honour of knowing Richard as our President and have a signed copy of his last publication 'Bedford Then & Now'.
He was a much respected individual who will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew him.
Chair, Bedford Art Society