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Aubrey Budd: local artist?

I recently acquired an original watercolour painting of The Cottage record shop in Brighton which I understand closed in the 1980s.

The painting is a wonderful watercolour painted by an Aubrey Budd, but I have been unable to find anything about this super artist – can anyone help?

The Cottage record shop
From the private collection of Alan Peebles

Comments about this page

  • I hope that if Aubrey is still alive – he would be in his eighties, and when I last saw him around ten years ago, he was recovering from illness. I hope he will forgive me for saying that he was something of an eccentric recluse. He was indeed a superb artist. I am the proud owner of a couple of small ‘chocolate box’ type paintings that he did for me in 1976. He was as adept with oils as with water colours, and his calligraphy, which, he proudly told me, he always did with a brush, never a pen, was beyond belief. I wish I had an example of that. Aubrey, if you are still around, thank you.

    By Joe Reid (18/07/2009)
  • Aubrey, who resided in Viaduct Road during the eighties, lived very frugally, but had everything that he considered important. He had a collection of classical records, amongst which were operas sung by various artists, ranging from Jussi Borling, Gigli, and Caruso, to Di Stefano and Lanza. He liked sopranos Vitoria de Los Angeles and Maria Callas. Wagner was also included in his collection. Another interest of his was steam engines. In the eighties, he was the proud owner of a fine working model of The Mallard. In his painting, he was extremely diligent. Fastidious is understating his attitude. As I have said, he was a beautiful writer, a discipline that he thoroughly enjoyed, though I believe he liked even more working on miniature paintings. As an example of his diversity, I once saw him working on an old seascape, an oil painting, which a client had asked him to prepare. All of these he returned to enjoy, after the death of his beloved mother, an event which caused him to temporarily go blind. Aubrey had a sister. I could not say whether she was older or younger. I never met her, or his mother. I only know of them through conversations with Aubrey. He also told me that his father was an acquaintance of Hillaire Belloc.

    By Joe Reid (27/07/2009)
  • Outside an auctioned house on Viaduct Road, I came across an old scrapbook. Fascinated, I leafed through it only to discover that it was the work of Aubrey Budd, c.1974. At the time he was obsessed with religious philosophy and the meaning of life. It makes for an engaging document of the man.

    By Enzo Marra (18/08/2009)
  • Enzo: That is fascinating. He was indeed obsessive. At around that time (1974) on a lowly scale, we had many philosophical discussions. Existentialism was a favourite – of mine anyway since it was the only one I knew anything about. He quoted Nietzsche in discussions about Wagner, and it seems that he had also read Kant. Highly eccentric, as I have said, but a wonderful artist.

    By Joe Reid (25/08/2009)
  • I assume from comments here that Aubrey is deceased. I would just like to add that despite his ‘eccentricity’, he served in a Sussex Regiment during the war, was wounded, and made his escape from the front back through enemy lines. He was, he told me, like many serving with him, totally unsuited to army life. When, after being wounded, he asked permission to return from the front, his superior officer told him the enemy was between him and safety, but if he wished to take his chances… Aubrey made it. I do not know on which Front he served, or whether the limited use of one arm was as a result of a war wound. I just listened. I hope I was of some help to him. R.I.P. old friend.

    By Joe Reid (27/08/2009)
  • The notebook also includes prose all beautifully and intrincately worded, and quotes he had sourced and collated over many pages as well as cuttings from newspapers of the day. I am quite unsure what to do with it, he certainly was a very intelligent and inquisitive individual…

    By Enzo Marra (30/09/2009)
  • Sorry to enter this correspondence late. Aubrey is still very much alive: I saw him today. I’m going to write to him to check whether he’s happy to be contacted or at least written about. More later.

    By Catherine Clement (31/12/2010)
  • Thanks for that uplifting news Catherine.

    By Joe Reid (25/01/2011)
  • I look forward to your next post.The notebook is still in my private collection. I am v glad I saved it from the rubbish collection it was amongst.

    By Enzo Marra (14/02/2011)
  • How nice to know that Aubrey Budd is still with us. He sold me several of his paintings and some were exchanged for work on his collection of decommissioned rifles and hand guns. Does he still wear that old hat?

    By Andrew Pierse (22/02/2011)
  • I, and my brother, have the honour and pleasure of knowing Aubrey and he is indeed very well and contented in a Residential Home in Hove. He is an endless fountain of knowledge and I never tire of listening to his life stories. My brother and I helped to move him from Viaduct Road and it was just amazing what was crammed into that little house. We tried to save all we could and I’m glad that some of the remaining items were saved from outside. What a remarkable man – I do wish somebody would commit his life to paper – what a read it would be. God bless you Aubrey 

    By Jan Roberts (27/02/2011)
  • I am most delighted that Aubrey is well, and in good hands. I am astonished to learn that he had an interest in weapons. I am sure I must at some time told him that I was once a first class marksman with Bren Gun and Rifle, but I do not recall him mention his interest. However, he was, I am sure, interested in many subjects that he did not discuss with me. As the person who helped him move out will know, apart from the Mallard model, record collection, and artist’s paraphernalia, Aubrey also had a large number of old school type blackboards and easels upstairs. He MAY have used them. I did not ask. I hope he has many healthy years ahead.

    By Joe (28/02/2011)
  • I’d like to send this message to all of Aubrey’s fans to say that he is very much alive and well and living in a care home in the Brighton area. He is still as chirpy as ever and still to this day is producing wonderful sketches, paintings and works of art. If anyone would like to meet him or visit him I know he would be very grateful of the company and would love to meet fellow art enthusiasts and followers of his work. I am in regular contact with Aubrey as activities co-ordinator at the home so please contact me by email to arrange a visit.

    By Nick Schofield (05/01/2012)
  • After a short delay (over a year; all my fault, not Aubrey’s), here is Aubrey’s reply to the original query from Alan Peebles, and afterwards a couple of comments about the other contributions. He wrote this last February though, so he hadn’t seen the later additions. Sorry! “There is quite a history re. the painting in question. The original preparatory detailed drawing I drew in ink then added gradated washes, monochromatic, this was approved. Mr Peebles’ painting was in processing paints for reproduction, small, approx 5″ x 7”. [The reproductions were] then placed on sale for some time, proving popular. I have one of these. The next version I painted for the “Cottage Shop” carrier bag; this demanded a BOLD interpretation, brown on deep cream. Thanks to Joe Reid for his kind tributes and to Enzo Marra for his appreciation of some of my Philosophical/Metaphysical writings. I am still painting with the old enthusiasm!” Aubrey Budd 9 February 2011

    By Catherine (27/01/2012)
  • Aubrey, you once asked me the following question: If a tree falls in an undiscovered forest, and no-one is there to see or hear it, did it really happen? I am still not sure. But you made me think – and smile.

    By Joe (06/02/2012)
  • Joe – I’m sure Aubrey will forgive me for butting in… we don’t have to see or hear it to know that it happened. We can dig up the coal later.

    By Catherine (02/01/2013)
  • Aubrey is indeed an amazing man-I’ve had wonderful chats with him.

    By Linda Twaddle (16/01/2013)
  • Catherine. Aubrey would like that answer, but would probably suggest that you first discover the forest. Linda, you must be as eccentric as Aubrey.

    By Joe (18/01/2013)
  • Joe – we always smiled.

    By Linda (05/02/2013)
  • I am now offering the picture for sale if there is anyone interested – email me on or telephone 01323 509720.

    By Alan Peebles (27/02/2013)
  • When I moved into the Eatwell Cafe in Viaduct Road, 1970/71, Aubrey made the sign ‘REID’S RESTAURANT’ for me, and helped me attach it. He also helped me attempt to promote the place with a poster and leaflets saying, “Luncheon, Sweet and a Cup of Tea, All for less than 50p”.

    By Joe Reid (30/07/2013)
  • Reading this page is wonderful. Aubrey died just a few weeks ago and I was lucky enough to be his friend for the last three years. Despite our 60 yr age gap we talked about life, religion, opera, the war, philosophy and everything in between! He was a total legend. I will cherish the drawings he did for me and all the things he taught me.

    Dying without family, his funeral will be a quiet affair but if you see this and want to attend or know anyone who knew him, it will be on the 14th May at Hove Cemetry Chapel at 10am. 

    RIP King of Elves – Aubrey Budd – Artist, War Veteran and all round brilliant human being and friend.

    By Charlotte Sabel (12/05/2014)
  • I was lucky enough to get to know Aubrey during his last few months of life – he was still drawing until his death. He was also such an interesting man to talk to and never seemed unhappy, he lived in the same nursing home that my dear husband now lives in. If it hadn’t been for my husband’s illness and also living there I would never have had the pleasure of knowing such a lovely man as Aubrey. R.I.P Aubrey – my son Paul, grandson Zak and myself will never forget you. 

    By Marion Goodwin (30/05/2014)
  • Just come across the painting by this wonderful artist for which I had no offers, so thought I would try again – give me call 01323 509720 if interested.

    By Alan (04/07/2014)
  • Only the really good people in this world who made an impact continue to get discussed in such a positive way after they have departed. Well done Aubrey!

    By Charlotte Sabel (09/07/2014)
  • Farewell my eccentric old friend. Thanks for your help.

    By Joe (25/08/2014)
  • I was working in a charity shop when I first met Aubrey and hit it off straightaway through a love of books. He lived in the next street and I would often stop and talk. He was a minefield of information and told me about his close shave with death in the war which he was lucky to survive. He was a true character in his trilby hat and often showed me his magnificent artwork. A genuinely nice man, always cheerful. Sad to hear of his passing.

    By Mark (22/09/2014)
  • Aubrey did the posters for our Church. Fairs, exhibitions etc. in the 60s My father and I would go and collect them driven there by a friend. I was amazed by his little house and all the curios it contained. He always had time to chat to us.

    By Keren (11/01/2020)
  • I met Aubrey when he was an inpatient in craven vale. I was working as a nurse at the time. He was a wonderful man and I had many a discussion with him on a variety of topics. Whilst with us in craven vale I furnished him with a sketch pad and pencils he subsequently did a number of sketches which he kindly gave to craven vale and they still are on the walls. He also did two sketches for myself which I still have today . One is of a lighthouse in a rough sea and the other is of my ideal country cottage. He was a gentleman in every way. RIP Aubrey ..

    By Liz Waldron (13/06/2020)
  • Regarding my original comment regarding the watercolor of the old book shop.
    This watercolor is now for sale if you’re interested.
    Call Alan 07449761444

    By Alan Peebles (07/09/2020)

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