GRAHAM Arnold – artist and visionary who lived in south Shropshire – has died aged 86 in Hereford Hospital.

He was an outstanding painter who was an important member of a group of artists who sought to counteract what they saw as the corrosive impact of the Modern Movement on the traditional strengths and virtues of English art.

Together with Peter Blake, David Inshaw, Graham and Annie Ovenden and his painter wife Ann they formed the Brotherhood of Ruralists (a conscious echo of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) in 1975.

Discarded painterly skills would be reasserted. The age-old relationship of the artist with the English landscape would experience a renaissance. The Brotherhood was almost at once the subject of a major BBC TV documentary and Interest in the Ruralist manifesto spread through Britain. Even though the founding artists have gone their own way since then, that widespread interest in the Brotherhood continues and its ideas still reverberate.

Graham was born in Sydenham in 1932. He attended various art schools before and during the war. After the war he exhibited at the Royal Academy and then did national service with the Royal Artillery. This led to an unlikely posting: teaching at an army boarding school in the forests of Malaya’s Cameron Highlands, then a target for Chinese military action.

In 1958 he won a prize to spend two years in Rome. He bought a Lambretta motor bike to get there, and on it travelled extensively in Italy and France.

In 1961 he married Ann and they moved to Devizes.

Ann died in 2017. Graham succumbed to a major stroke in 2018. For 10 months in care in Ludlow he struggled to start painting and drawing again – to reassert something of the old life. It was in vain. In mid-March he suffered a major relapse, and was admitted to Hereford County Hospital where he died.

His memorial service in the village church of Chapel Lawn was packed.