Harold Yates was a painter in oil and watercolour. Yates’ father was an amateur artist who worked as a cartoonist for the trade press. At the age of fourteen, keen to become an artist himself, Yates attended Portsmouth School of Art for eighteen months, where he showed talent for figurative work and developed an ambition to be an illustrator.
After joining a commercial studio when he was seventeen he became disillusioned with the disciplines there and began to paint abstract works in his spare time. He exhibited with the Artists International Association and the London Gallery with his first solo show at Foyles Gallery, when he was nineteen.
Like many artists working in the late 30s and early 40s his career was interrupted by the Second World War. While in the Army during World War II, he did documentary work which was purchased by War Artists’ Advisory Committee, and is now in the Imperial War Museum, at the same time producing pictures with a personal symbolism.
After the Army, he worked as a freelance commercial artist and on the staff of a leading London advertising agency, while continuing to paint abstracts in his spare time. Yates had a solo show at the Belgrave Gallery in 1989, and a retrospective at Chappel Galleries in 1992.