Robert Poole, an 83-year-old artist who lives at Trecastle near Brecon, has been ‘in hibernation’ as an exhibiting artist for many years now.

His paintings and drawings have not been seen in public for around 20 years. But his artwork was rediscovered recently by the Tower Gallery in Crickhowell when one of its members visited Poole and found the walls of his home crammed with pictures. The Tower Gallery has now mounted and exhibition of his work going back many years. This will be on display until November 13.

Robert Poole describes himself as ‘a Cardiff boy through and through’. He was born in Cardiff in 1938, went to Cardiff High School and then studied at Cardiff School of Art and Cardiff University where he specialised in illustration. After college he moved out of Wales and spent a career teaching art in high schools, first in Tunbridge Wells and then Gloucester and the Forest of Dean. Throughout this time Robert sketched the people around him. His first influence, obvious enough in his drawing, was the cartoonists in Punch magazine which he devoured as a boy. But then he was captured by the Post-impressionists such as Toulouse-Lautrec.

At art college he was taught never to go out without a sketchbook and he continued this practice throughout his life, sketching ‘in pubs, bus stops, theatres’. His work has always been distinctly unusual, anchored in the past, old-fashioned some would say, but also full of vigour and character.

He has spent his life observing people and his ink, pencil and pastel drawings focus on the people he came across as he followed his enthusiasms in life, which included football and the theatre. As a boy in Cardiff his father every Saturday took him to football games and he became a fervent follower of Cardiff city.

He played himself for a local Cardiff amateur side for seven years, and when he moved over the border he coached football at schools in Kent and Gloucester, as well as teaching art. Pictures in the Tower Gallery with titles such as ‘On the way to the Match’ are evidence of this enthusiasm. Throughout his teaching career he was also involved in amateur dramatics. ‘I wasn’t interested in pantomime’, he says, ‘but I loved drama. One of the last parts I played was in Noel Coward’s ‘Brief Lives’.

From the evidence on the gallery walls the cast parties after these theatricals were riotous events and a number of his pictures focus on boozy hijinks involving all the cast members. Robert was also a keen observer of characters seen not just at dramatic events or football matches but also the variety of disparate folk who can be watched coming and going on railway station platforms and other places where a variety of people are thrown together in a busy environment. He was attracted to the seaside too. When young the family often visited Penarth and a number of his drawings and paintings capture visitors being battered by the elements on the seafront at Penarth and elsewhere.

After taking early retirement to Pembrokeshire he eventually moved to Powys where he still lives. Robert Poole’s pictures can be seen at the Tower Gallery, until November 13. As well as works by its own members the gallery is also exhibiting a painting based on the Mabinogion story of Ceridwen and Gwion Bach by the Crickhowell artist Tim Rossiter, as part of a crowdfunding appeal to purchase this picture for Y Gaer, the Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery.