Tom Cross in his introduction piece to Ovenden in Catching the Wave, states that Graham is a bibliophile, a collector and a scholar, but first he is a painter. He works in oil, working to a high finish and with great precision.' One could not argue with any of that, and Cross's description of the formation of 'The Brotherhood of Ruralists' in 1974 is also descriptively precise and cannot be bettered.

Ovenden came to Cornwall in 1973 with his wife Annie, and settled at a farmhouse near Bodmin, which they re-designed, extended and crafted, almost all by hand, into a Gothic 'museum-like' home complete with a beautifully designed and lighted gallery. The couple were generous with their time and home and invited visitors in to view the latest work of not only their own, but their like-minded friends. 

In recent years the artist has been charged with producing pornographic images of children, both in the UK and USA courts, and in the wake of abuse scandals raised after the death of the entertainer Jimmy Savile (2011), also with paedophilia (convicted June 2013 by Truro Crown Court). The Tate Gallery has removed his paintings. A fuller explanation of charges and outcomes can be found on Wikipedia and other websites, mainly by newspapers covering the court case.

His (now estranged) wife, Annie OVENDEN, is also an artist.


Painter in oil

works and access





The Ruralists

misc further info



Cross (2002) Catching the Wave, Contemporary Art & Artists in Cornwall pp171-5 (photo likeness, illus)