My earliest recollections of Bob Osborne go back to the autumn of 1972 when we were both first year students at the University of East Anglia. A sandy haired beach boy in a donkey jacket who arrived in Norfolk after exploits in the contrasting arenas of building sites and European travels, Osborne seemed to have a point to prove. From the outset he was always an independent, even rebellious spirit, and his déclassé stance was real for he hailed from gypsy street traders and the rough end of West London Bohemia.
We went our separate ways as students but, 30 years later, made re-acquaintance in St Ives, where his dream of a Dionysian, creative and hedonistic accord by the sea found fulfilment. Although he came to art late-though not as belatedly as Alfred Wallis-there is something personal, endemic and natural in his chosen modus operandi. After all, as a child he went out on a horse and cart and witnessed his father, a scrap metal dealer, turn discarded junk into a source of livelihood. The random excitement of finding objects stayed with him providing a formative and motivational factor in his scouring of London skips and Cornish harbours and beaches. From these humble materials he fashions collages and wall-bound relief
Peter Davies 2001.
Taken from the book Bob Osborne Constructions by Peter Davies 2012
Scratching the Surface - collage