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John O'Connor

Born 1913, Leicester. Died 2004

John O'Connor studied at the Leicester College of Art from 1931-34 and the Royal College of Art from 1934-37 under Eric Ravilious and John Nash. He taught at Birmingham College of Art in 1937 and then at Bristol College of Art from 1938-41. He served in the RAF during the War and then became Principal of Colchester College of Art from 1948-64. He also was lecturer at Glasgow School of Art from 1977-1984.

O'Connor's paintings and wood engravings reveal a profound appreciation of the natural world; Suffolk was a a favourite and early source of inspiration and when in 1976 he moved to Kircudbright in 1976, the wild, dramatic Scottish landscape became the focus of his work.

Throughout his career, alongside his painting and teaching he undertook many commissions for book illustrations and was himself an author of ‘Canals, Barges and People’ (1950), ‘Landscape Painting’ (1968), ‘The Technique of Wood Engraving’ (1971), ‘Introducing Relief Printing (1973), ‘Landscape Drawing’ (1977), ‘People and Places’ (1999) and ‘The English Scene’ (2004).

In the 1950s and 1960s, O'Connor exhibited regularly at the Zwemmer Gallery, in London, and went on to have many exhibitions throughout Britain. Public collections acquiring his work include the Arts Council, the Tate Gallery, the British Museum,The Hepworth, Wakefield; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Clare College, Cambridge University; Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry; Newport Museum and Gallery; Chelmsford Museum; Lewisham Archive Centre; Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne; the Oslo Museum, the Zurich Museum and New York Central Library.

The Hepworth, Wakefield; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Clare College, Cambridge University; Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry; Newport Museum and Gallery; Chelmsford Museum; Lewisham Archive Centre; Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne; the Oslo Museum, the Zurich Museum and New York Central Library.

He was elected to the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1947, and, in 1974, to the Royal Watercolour Society. In 1990 he became an Honorary Member of the Society of Wood Engravers.



The Picnic
Roach Bank