Terry Frost 1915-2003

Sir Terence Ernest Manitou Frost RA (13 October 1915 – 1 September 2003) was a British abstract artist, who worked in Newlyn, Cornwall. Frost was renowned for his use of the Cornish light, colour and shape to start a new art movement in England. He became a leading exponent of abstract art and a recognised figure of the British art establishment.

Born in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, in 1915, he did not become an artist until he was in his 30s. He left school aged fourteen and went to work at Curry’s cycle shop and then at Armstrong Whitworth in Coventry. During World War II, he served in France, the Middle East and Greece, before joining the commandos. Whilst serving with the commandos in Crete in June 1941 he was captured and sent to various prisoner of war camps. As a prisoner of war at Stalag 383 in Bavaria, he met Adrian Heath who encouraged him to paint. Commenting later he described these years as a ‘tremendous spiritual experience, a more aware or heightened perception during starvation’.

As soon as war was over he went to Birmingham College of Art, where he met Barrie Cook. However Frost quickly assumed that the action was elsewhere. At first attended Camberwell School of Art under Leonard Fuller. The following year, 1946 he removed for a year out to St. Ives School of Painting where his first solo exhibition was held in 1947 at G.B. Downing’s bookshop, before returning to London and that autumn the Camberwell School of Art under Victor Pasmore, Ben Nicholson and William Coldstream bringing him to paint his first abstract work in 1949. For three years he exhibited with the St Ives Society of Artists until in 1950 he was elected a member of the Penwith Society; he maintained a permanent connection with the Newlyn school. Already settled in the town by 1951 he worked as an assistant to the sculptor Barbara Hepworth. He was joined there by Roger Hilton, where they began a collaboration in collage and construction techniques.... read more