Ralph Brown was born in Leeds. He studied at Leeds College of Art, famous at the time for two of its former students, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, and at the Royal College of Art in London.
Scholarships followed, firstly to Paris in 1951 to work in the studio of Ossip Zadkine and later to Italy in 1954 to study Etruscan sculpture. He also worked for a period in Cannes making mosaic panels for Picasso.
During the fifties his work attracted much critical acclaim and was shown alongside his contemporaries Armitage, Turnbull and Paolozzi. In the 60’s his work became more figurative, concentrating on smooth, sensuous human forms. Brown’s sculpture is imbued with a humanist concern for the pathos of our human condition. The Second World War, its tragedies and the euphoria of peace, together with the social freedoms of the 1960’s, provided him with a contemporary context in which he deftly and eloquently communicates our vulnerability and sensuality.
Brown was elected a Royal Academician in 1972. A major retrospective of his sculpture and drawings was held by the Henry Moore Centre for Sculpture in Leeds City Art Galleries in 1988. His work can be found in many public collections including the Arts Council of Great Britain, Bristol City Art Gallery, Leeds City Art Gallery, The National Museum of Wales and the Tate Gallery, London.