British artist Tom Harman discusses how critical theory led him to return to painting
Tom Harman installs abstract paintings at Little Man Coffee Co., Cardiff. Photograph: Rhys Tranter.
Tom Harman installs abstract paintings at Little Man Coffee Co., Cardiff. Photograph: Rhys Tranter.

When did you start painting?

Drawing and painting, for me, was what I always did and was always good at. Throughout school I only ever wanted to paint and couldn’t wait to leave at 16 and begin a BTECH in Art and Design at my local FE college. This was a great experience, at last getting to create visual material all day, every day. I was particularly interested in painting that had some form of social commentary and was influenced by the New Glasgow Boys, painters from the Glasgow School of Art such as Steven Campbell, Peter Howson and Ken Currie, as well as the big names in British painting such as Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. (more…)

Jon Lys Turner’s The Visitors’ Book sheds light on one of the most significant post-war British art archives discovered in decades

How did you come to write The Visitor’s Book?

Jon Lys Turner, The Visitor's Book: In Francis Bacon's Shadow: The Lives of Richard Chopping and Denis Wirth-Miller
Jon Lys Turner, The Visitor’s Book: In Francis Bacon’s Shadow: The Lives of Richard Chopping and Denis Wirth-Miller

I was a co-beneficiary of the estates of the artists Richard ‘Dicky’ Chopping (1917-2008) and his partner Denis Wirth-Miller (1915-2010). I had been a close friend of both for thirty years having been taught by Dicky at the Royal College of Art.

After their deaths, on entering their discarded studios behind their estuary-side home in Wivenhoe, Essex, I was astounded to find pile upon pile of canvases, sketchbooks and correspondence.

A director of the Tate visited the studio and explained that these articles were important – maybe one of the most significant post-war British art archives to be discovered in decades and asked if I would put together the structure of a catalogue for a potential show. This soon grew beyond a catalogue. Representatives of the Estate of Francis Bacon suggested that, with so much unseen material, my project should become a book. (more…)