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The April Fool
© the artist's estate. Photo credit: Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London

The April Fool 1978

Anthony Earnshaw (1924–2001)

Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre

Painter, creator of cartoon strips, prints, boxed assemblages and “books of a sort” and teacher, who was born in Ilkley, Yorkshire. Left school at 14 and worked for a time as an apprentice fitter, lathe turner and crane driver. He was an auto-didact who “through an enthusiasm for poetry discovered Surrealism in the mid-40s ‘which changed my life’”. This started him on making his various artefacts and “all in all making a general nuisance of myself”. His assemblages sometimes used found objects and were noted for their biting wit and singular vision. Tony Earnshaw was the subject of several television films. Published a number of shrewd, witty and aphoristic books, titles including Wintersol (with Eric Thacker), 1971; Flick Knives and Forks, 1981; and Carping and Kicking, 1987.

Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)

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