Roland Vivian Pitchforth was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire and studied there and in Leeds up to 1915. After the First World War, he returned to Leeds, then won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art (RCA, 1921–1925). Until 1939 he taught at Camberwell and Clapham Schools of Art and the RCA. He joined the London Artists' Association and the London Group in the late 1920s. As an Official War Artist in the Second World War, Pitchforth worked for the Ministry of Information and Home Security, drawing RAF activities, boat yards, factories, control rooms and tanks. He witnessed the Burma campaign in the Far East in 1945, then briefly lived in South Africa. On his return, he taught art and became a Royal Academician (1953).
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