Tom Morton (1905-1981)

photo of Tom Mortonavailable prints


Tom Morton, as he prefered to be known, was born 3rd December 1905. He was educated at St. Pauls' Choir School and brought up in an authoritarian household. His father was a Chief Superintendant in the Metropolitan Police. However he came under the influence of an old uncle (thought to be the black sheep of the family) who first taught him to paint. This was discouraged and he was pressured into his father's profession. In fact he did become the youngest sergeant ever at Scotland Yard. However when he could afford to do so he left to study his true vocation at the Regent Street Polytechnic Art School.

In 1938 he joined the T.A. and soon became a Quarter-Master Sergeant in the Anti-aircraft Regiment. During the war he saw action in France, Alexandria and Tobruk. During action he was hit in the spine and leg, and watched as one fo his closest friends was blown-up in front of him. He was evacuated on to an over-crowded hospital ship, which was torpedoed and sunk with great loss of life.

In 1945 Tom Morton and his wife Mary went on a walking holiday from London. It was then that they stumbled upon Polperro in Cornwall, and fell in love with it at once. They rented a flat above Barclay's Bank (for 10 shillings a week), which became Tom Morton's studio. In 1946 he had enough work to start an exhibition. This was opened by friend, world famous artist, inventor and Punch cartoonist Rowland Emett.

Tom Morton lived and worked in Polperro until he died 1981.

In his early years he sent work to the Royal Academy of Art. Several were accepted, and one painting was hung on the line. However he sought no national acclaim but remained content to paint and exhibit in Polperro.
His work gives a faithful representation of this most beautiful of English fishing villages. It is interesting to see how his distinctive style evolved from reproducing the serenity of his surroundings with looming grey images, to depiction of the dark rich colour, and later recreating on canvas the almost surreal scenes with gay prime and pastel colour. His main medium was oils on canvas applied meticulously with a palete knife.
Over the years, he commissioned the production of high quality full colour prints of a selection of his favourite work. Of these original prints the following still remain in almost perfect condition.

the Tom Morton prints

Nude printNude by Tom Morton

“My first unfinished attempt at painting the nude figure at art school, in 1930.”

30" x 20" (76 x 51cm) unsigned open edition print
price £9.99 to order quote code: MORT001

Talland Church printTalland Church & Bay by Tom Morton

“Talland Bay is roughly half way between Polperro and Looe. The painting is extremely detailed and meticulous in style. The small bushes on the cliffs are composed of dozens of separate touches with the point of a knife. While working on this picture, I narrowly escaped sudden death. Without looking, I jumped from a high wall, while carrying heavy painting gear, almost onto the nose of a dangerous bull which was dozing in the corner of the field. Such appalling dangers we artists face gladly, so that you may we hope enjoy our work.”

23" x 27" (59 x 69cm) unsigned open edition print
price £9.99 to order quote code: MORT002

Drying Sails printDrying Sails by Tom Morton

“At the end of the war, when this picture was painted, the harbour was often full of red sails, drying in the sun, either set or just hanging from the mast...My intention in this composition was to give a feeling of warmth and sunlight...also to take the eye out of the horizon. I am often asked, which of my pictures I prefer...I must confess, that this picture gives me great pleasure.”

23" x 27" (59 x 69cm) unsigned open edition print
price £9.99 to order quote code: MORT003

Yellow Boat printThe Yellow Boat by Tom Morton

“I painted the original just after the war, when the village still had the appearance of a smugglers' haunt. Many fishing boats were still working, and the beautiful Cornish stone had not been hidden with colour wash.”

27" x 23" (69 x 59cm) unsigned open edition print
price £9.99 to order quote code: MORT004

Peak Rock printPeak Rock by Tom Morton - OUT OF STOCK

“It is not intended to be representational or realistic, but an attempt to give the maximum feeling of sunlight.”

16" x 20" (41 x 51cm) unsigned open edition print
price £9.99 to order quote code: MORT005

House on the Props printHouse on the Props by Tom Morton - OUT OF STOCK

19" x 23" (48 x 59cm) unsigned open edition print
price £9.99 to order quote code: MORT006

Old Tommer printOld Tommer by Tom Morton

19" x 23" (48 x 59cm) unsigned open edition print
price £9.99 to order quote code: MORT007

Polperro from the Studio printPolperro from the Studio by Tom Morton

“The view point is from the roof of the studio...I spent a whole day out on the slates making the drawing, which was of course very dangerous. The painting which took a month, was done in the studio. This is the only painting I have done since 1954.”

16" x 29" (41 x 74cm) unsigned open edition print
price £9.99 to order quote code: MORT008