Tom Carr
Irish Landscape Artist, Figure Painter: Biography, Paintings.

For a guide to oils/watercolours
see: Irish Painting.
For answers to popular queries,
see: Irish Art Questions.

Tom Carr OBE, RUA (1909-99)

A talented landscape artist and figurative painter, Tom Carr was born in County Antrim, Northern Ireland and encouraged to sketch by his watercolourist grandfather. In 1929 he attended the Slade School of Fine Art, London, where he studied drawing and painting under Henry Tonks and Wilson Steer. After two years study, Tom Carr travelled to Florence for six months, staying at the home of the artist Aubrey Waterfield (1874-1944).

Returning to London, he slowly built a reputation as a draughtsman and artist, exhibiting at several galleries. He painted watercolours as well as oil painting.

Still Life

During this time he came to the attention of the history of art expert Kenneth Clark who recommended the purchase of Carr's Beach Scene at Dover Beach to Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother). In the early 1930s, despite his love for the paintings of Claude, Degas, Corot and Sickert - an influence which never left him - he flirted briefly with non-representational art and became associated with various avant-garde groups in London such as the Objective Abstractionists as well as the Euston Road Group of artists, established by Pasmore, William Coldstream and Claude Rogers. In 1933, Carr took part in the Objective Abstractions Exhibition at the Zwemmer Gallery in 1934, but soon discovered that abstraction held no interest for him. He thus returned to figure painting, focusing on people seated by the seaside, often with dogs and cats in view; or children playing, or landscapes of County Down.

Carr returned to Ulster just before the war and worked as an official war artist. However, the landscape of Northern Ireland became his principal subject, in both oils and watercolours. He taught art in a private school and later figure-drawing at the Belfast College of Art. Painting children became of his specialities. Following his wife's death in 1995, he moved to Norfolk where he focused on landscape painting of the local scenery. He was honoured with an MBE in 1974 for services to art in Ulster and became OBE in 1993. Tom Carr was a member of the Royal Society of Watercolour Painters and the Watercolour Society of Ireland. He was also a member of the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts.


Exhibitions and Collections

Tom Carr's major exhibitions include:

1933 - Zwemmer Gallery, London: "Tom Carr, Victor Pasmore, Ceri Richards."
1989 RHA Gallery, Dublin: "Retrospective."
1997 Ulster Museum, Belfast; "The Red Sings Out."
1999 Eakin Gallery, Belfast.

His paintings are represented in several public collections, including:

Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
AIB (Allied Irish Banks).

Most Expensive Painting By Tom Carr

The auction record for a work by Tom Carr was set in 2006, when his genre painting, entitled The Bank Managers Day Off, was sold at James Adams, in Dublin, for €30,000.

More Information About Visual Arts in Ireland

• For details of other painters from Northern Ireland, see: Irish Artists: Paintings and Biographies.
• For more about Antrim artists from Northern Ireland like Tom Carr, see: Irish Art Guide.
• For more about 20th century painting, see: Homepage.

© All rights reserved.