Rowland Suddaby was born in Kimberworth, Yorkshire. He studied at Sheffield College of Art from 1926, winning a scholarship there. He came to London in 1931 aged nineteen, married young, and found it a real struggle to make a living in those early years. However his work was noticed by Rex Nan Kivell and he had a successful show initially at the Wertheim Gallery in London in 1935, and then a series of shows from 1936 at the Redfern Gallery. He was regarded by the latter as their artist 'successor' to Christopher Wood, and he painted vigorous and atmospheric pictures in London and Cornwall in the mid to late 1930s some very much in the Wood tradition. These paintings in both oils and watercolours had spontaneity and a sureness of touch which really caught the imagination of critics and collectors alike.