John Tunnard (1900-1971)

Painter, born at Sandy in Bedfordshire. He studied textile design at RCA, 1919-23 and during the 1920’s he was employed as a designer in the textile industry and also played jazz on a semi professional basis. In 1929 he began to paint and soon came under the painting and came under the influence of the Surrealist Movement. He settled in Cornwall in 1930 where he established a hand blocked silk printing business. His first solo exhibition was held at the Redfern Gallery, London in 1933 and from 1948 until retirement in 1964 he taught design at Penzance School of Art. In March 1939 Peggy Guggenheim gave Tunnard a show at her gallery Guggenheim Jeune in London. During this period he exhibited in group shows at the Zwemmer Gallery and Alex Reid & Lefevre.

The British Council included his work in three exhibitions in Australia and South America between 1940 and 1949, and in 1944 the artist was given a one-person show at the Nierendorf Gallery in New York. His paintings of the late 1940’s and 1950’s, when landscape motifs appear are more easily legible than his pre war work. In the years immediately following World War II his work was reproduced in the Pictures for Schools series.He also showed at the RA and with the LG and represented Britain at the Venice Biennale. He designed a mural for the 1951 Festival of Britain and examples of his work are in the Tate Gallery, the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and in museums in Adelaide, Auckland and Melbourne. He was elected an Associate of the RA in 1967. A retrospective exhibition in the artist's centenary year was held at Durham University in 2000.

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