KEN Messer, who has died aged 86, was an award-winning artist whose watercolour paintings of Oxford were renowned around the country.

Mr Messer lived in the city for most of his life and his ink drawings appeared regularly in The Oxford Times during the 1980s.

His watercolour paintings of some of the city’s most historic buildings earned him the name ‘The Oxford Artist’.

Ken Messer was born in Newport, South Wales, on July, 3, 1931.

He moved to the Oxford area as a young boy, where he lived for the rest of his life.

After attending City of Oxford High School for Boys, where he excelled at rugby and cricket, he started work as an accountant in the city.

He then moved on to become a steward for the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC).

It was in this role that he met Dilys Lloyd who would become his wife for some 59 years.

As a married couple they lived in Richmond upon Thames, London, where they had their first child, Toby, and a second, Ben, before moving to Abingdon, where they had a daughter Jennie.

On returning to the county he continued his passion for rugby, playing regularly at full-back for the Old Oxford Citizens, also known as the Oxford Old Boys club, and also being actively involved in running the Oxford seven-a-side rugby tournament at Iffley Road.

But in the 1960’s Mr Messer was involved in a car accident which would end his sporting career and change his working life.

When he left his job with BOAC he became a graphic designer at Pergamon Press, owned by Robert Maxwell, which allowed him time to pursue his real passion which was painting watercolours.

He rose through the ranks at Pergamon to become studio manager and when he could progress no further he decided to take a leap of faith and become a full time artist, a role from which he never retired.

Quickly he became well-known locally for his paintings of Oxford and throughout the 1980s his ink drawings appeared regularly in the Oxford Times.

His watercolours captured beautifully and in precise detail some of the city’s most historic buildings, and for this he became known as 'the Oxford Artist'.

He showed his work at various galleries and exhibitions across the county and further afield, and his watercolour landscapes and townscapes featured in collections world-wide.

He won prizes in three consecutive Saunders Artists in Watercolour international competitions and his work has hung in the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours annual exhibitions at The Mall Galleries.

His family said he “touched everyone with his genial good humour, warmth and an ability to put the many people he met at their ease.”

He died on April 28, and is survived by his wife Dilys, three children Toby, Ben and Jennie and his sister Kate.