ANTHONY EARNSHAW (1924-2001)
Anthony Earnshaw’s distinctive vision and sheer inventiveness led to a rich and varied artistic career, encompassing paintings, drawings, boxed assemblages, an idiosyncratic comic strip, pictorial alphabets and two published collections of his aphorisms. At the age of 20, through an interest in poetry and literature, he discovered Surrealism which had a profound influence on his thinking and creative development. Alongside his lifelong friend Eric Thacker, he engaged in surreal experiments, such as boarding and alighting from trains at random. His friendship with Thacker also yielded two illustrated ‘irregular’ novels and, notably, the Surrealist comic strip Wokker. In the 1960s, Earnshaw began creating assemblage boxes using manufactured objects as well as objets trouvé, which referenced to the forefathers of Surrealism: Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, E.L.T. Mesens, René Magritte, Max Ernst and Marcel Mariën.
Earnshaw was born in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, in 1924. His parents were watch and jewellery makers. An autodidact, he began work as an engineering fitter and a crane driver, whilst going to the city library in his time off. He then worked as a teacher, at Harrogate School of Art, Bradford Art School, and Leeds Polytechnic, and in 1985 decided to pursue his artistic career full-time. As well as a number of publications, Earnshaw’s work has been featured in exhibitions at Leeds Institute; Chelsea Arts Club, London; Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, and Centre Courbeoie, Paris, among many others. His work is also held in many public collections, including the Tate, UK; Arts Council England; Leeds Art Gallery; Graves Gallery, Sheffield, and The Sherwin Collection, Leeds.