Born 1932. Died 2018
Tessa Beaver is a printmaker and painter, the daughter of the architect Courtney Theobald, and granddaughter of Maxwell Ayrton, the architect of the first Wembley Stadium. She studied at the Slade School of Art gaining the University of London Diploma in Fine Art in 1953 and spent a further year at the School working mainly in etching under John Buckland-Wright.
After six months travelling in Italy and Greece she became an illustrator and designer of book jackets before taking the post of art editor of children's books first at the Oxford University Press at later at Thomas Nelson's. In the early 1960s she spent some years working at a Quaker secondary school in western Kenya with her husband; here she continued to paint, also learning the art of woodblock printing, a technique which together with etching has been a significant aspect of her artistic output ever since. The appointment of her husband to the Department of English and American Studies at Warwick University in 1968 brought the family back to England and Leamington Spa where she set up a studio, at first for painting but eventually, with the purchase of a printing press, for the production of many successful series of prints sold through Christie’s Contemporary Art and other dealers in London and elsewhere in the country.
Tessa Beaver taught printmaking for a number of years at Mid-Warwickshire College, establishing a popular and influential Diploma course. Her work has been exhibited regularly for over forty years throughout the UK as well as at international exhibitions of printmaking in Brazil, China, Poland, Italy and Holland. In 1986 she was a prize-winner at the 5th Seoul International Print Biennale in South Korea.
In 2014/2015 an exhibition ‘In My Craft or Sullen Art’ was held at Leamington Spa Gallery and Museum showing a varied selection of Beaver’s paintings, drawings, etchings and woodblock prints.