The master left us but masterclass remains...

Friday May 06 2022
"Aloes" by Tim Brooke.

"Aloes" by Tim Brooke. PHOTO | FRANK WHALLEY


Old soldiers never die and neither do fine artists.

They live on to excite, shock, delight and educate us through their work.

And my comrade-in-art Timothy Brooke was among the finest of fine artists.

Part of him might have left us last week, at the age of 80, but his paintings and drawings, will continue to snap and sing from walls throughout the world.

Brooke was arguably the most technically accomplished painter in the region; his grasp of line and form, tone and mass, light and colour unsurpassed.

Born in England he came to Kenya, aged three, shortly after the Second World War and later returned to the UK for his schooling, honing his drawing by night at St Martin’s School of Art, London and later at nearby Farnham, where he focused on life drawing, the basis of an artist’s skills, before returning to Kenya.


Living in Nanyuki he often drove past Mt Kenya — one of his favourite subjects — then north into the deserts with their nomads herding cattle, goats and camels, women at the wells and wildlife in abundance.

Preserve this, each painting seems to say.

Brooke showed them, packed with lush, gorgeous colours applied with a broad brush, reeking of class, at the One Off gallery in Rosslyn, Nairobi, now planning a memorial exhibition.

Latterly his work became more reductive and closer to creating its own reference points; coherent within itself, beyond the changing realities it set out to project.

Brooke leaves a beloved family lost in grief.

But his wife Jill and daughters Abigail and Rebecca must know that Brooke is still very much with us through his thousands of paintings and drawings — all of which will continue to delight and be cherished by generations to come.

And for today’s young artists, a masterclass on the wall.