Fred Yates was born in Urmston, Lancashire, England in 1922. He began his working life as an insurance clerk, but this career was cut short by the Second World War, during which he served as a Grenadier Guards. His twin brother was killed during the failed attempt to capture the bridge at Arnhem in September 1944.
After the war Yates took up painting on his return to Manchester – initially as a painter and decorator. It was whilst working in Manchester, and training to become a teacher, that Yates began painting – much in the vein of LS Lowry; although he strove for recognition in his own right and achieved this in his later years.
By 1970 Yates was living and working in Cornwall, England, as a painter. In Cornwall, he painted almost exclusively outdoors – scenes of local village life, clifftop, and beach scenes. It was around this period that Yates’ commercial success began after the “St Ives 1939-64” exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London. It was also around this time that Yates had a solo exhibition in Geneva which saw some of his work purchased by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Yates has works in private collections in France, UK, Canada and the United States of America.