‘THERE ARE CLOSE PARALLELS between the land and the people of Cornwall and of Wales,’ Tom Cross wrote me in 1995. ‘Each has kept its Celtic identity and they share a magic of coast, moor and mountain and the privacy of their wild places.’ At that time, I was curating a retrospective exhibition of Tom’s work for Aberystwyth University School of Art Gallery (30 October – 27 November 1995). It subsequently toured to the University of Birmingham and Penwith Galleries in St Ives.
Painter and art historian Tom Cross trained at Manchester and the Slade Schools of Art. He was Assistant Director of the Welsh Arts Council in Cardiff, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Reading, and Principal of Falmouth School of Art until 1987. In his two seminal books, Painting the Warmth of the Sun: St Ives Artists 1939-1975and The Shining Sands: Artists in Newlyn and St Ives 1880-1930, Cross demonstrated the important contribution to 20th-century British art made by artists working in Cornwall. As well as the landscapes of south-west Cornwall, where Cross lived and worked overlooking an inlet on the Helford River, the Welsh landscape was for him an enduring subject.
I first came to know Tom and his artist-wife Patricia in 1989 when he was appointed External Examiner in Art and in Art History at Aberystwyth University.
Cross Currents: Paintings of Cornwall and Wales 1957-1995 by Tom Cross
To be continued …