O'CONNOR, John Scorror

1913 - 2004

John O'Connor

John Scorror O'Connor was born at Leicester on 11 August 1913, twin son of Vernon Fergus O’Connor (3 December 1875-13 July 1946), an optical instrument maker, whose family came from County Tipperary, Ireland, and his wife Annie Burnet née Scorror (15 July 1883-24 February 1964), who married at St John the Baptist, Leicester on 8 April 1912 and in 1939 were living at 83 Queens Road, Leicester when Vernon was a gas collector and Annie a sub-postmistress. After Wyggeston School and Leicester College of Art 1931-1933, John studied at the Royal College of Art 1933-1937, where his teachers included Eric Ravilious (1903-1942), John Nash and Robert Austin (1895-1973). Each influenced him, but from Ravilious he learned a great love of wood engraving. This was a golden age for private presses and, at the age of 23, O'Connor made engravings for an edition of Joan Rutter's book of poems, ‘Here's Flowers’, the first of his many book illustrations. He married firstly at St Stephen's Church, Westbourne Park Road, London on 27 December 1938, Mary Wilson Henry, only daughter of the late Revd Herbert James Henry, Mary had also been a pupil at Wyggeston and a student at Leicester College of Art. John served as a Flt. Lieut. in the RAF 1940-1946, arriving with the allied troops during the fall of Berlin, and sketched the ruined city. Back in England he married secondly at Filey, North Yorkshire in 1945, Jenny Tennant, a teacher, and they had one son. After war service, O'Connor taught at Hastings School of Art, moving in 1948 as principal of Colchester School of Art, later named the Colchester Centre for Art, Design and the Media, where his colleagues included Edward Bawden, Richard Chopping (1917-2008), who designed the dust jackets for the James Bond novels and his former teacher John Nash. During his time at Colchester he lived in Suffolk, firstly at Higham then at Shelley, where he saw his favourite painting places in Suffolk, the ponds, willows, briars, and honeysuckle, disappear beneath the bulldozer and the combine harvester. Leaving Colchester School of Art in 1964, he was a visiting lecturer at St Martin's School of Art until 1975 when the O'Connors left Suffolk for Kirkcudbright, Scotland where he was lecturer at Glasgow School of Art 1977-1984, making their home in a single-storey farmhouse when the byre beside the house became a three-room studio. During the 1950s and 60s, O'Connor exhibited at the Zwemmer Gallery in London, and had many exhibitions throughout Britain including at the Royal Academy. His work was purchased by the Arts Council, the Tate Gallery, the British Museum, and the Contemporary Art Society, as well as by several local education authorities; it can also be found in the Oslo Museum, the Zurich Museum and at New York central library. In 1947 elected to the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers and in 1974 to the Royal Watercolour Society and was an honorary member of the Society of Wood Engravers. John Scorror O'Connor died on 5 March 2004.

Royal Academy Exhibits
from Lodge End, Weeley Heath, Essex
1950 884 White Elm Tree and Orchard
1952 870 The Table Cloth
         925 Landscape in Tendring Hundred
from Oliver's Farm House, near Sudbury, Suffolk
1953 735 Black Stove
1954 779 Roman River
1955 756 St Swithun’s Day
         830 Storm in October
         899 Paddock in the Snow
1957 1031 Lake in December - watercolour
         1035 August Morning - watercolour
1958 235 Window onto a Garden
         641 Nina and a Table of Fruit
         759 Pond in the Evening - watercolour
1959 466 Lake in the Autumn
1960 53 Moon and Round Pond
         421 Young Girl and Winter
         1008 Landscape with a Tree and Sun - watercolour
1961 115 Red Bush and Flood River
         430 Girl in White by a River
         989 East Coast Landscape - watercolour
1962 160 Breckland Gold
         368 Ash Ground River
         711 Field and Hedge in Frost - watercolour
from The Forge, Higham, Suffolk
1963 406 Stour and Brett Flood
         527 Frozen Tree, Higham
         531 Salt-marsh Edge
1964 276 Blackthorn River
         801 Suffolk Coast: May
1965 119 Burnt October
         1054 August Storm
1966 734 March Thicket
         736 Goldmans Hill
         737 Michaelmas Thorns
1967 1315 Green Corner Piece
         1316 Lingleys Field
1968 73 Bright Reflections
         101 Yellow April
         102 West of a Road
from Riverside House, Shelley, Suffolk
1969 1157 Two o'clock Blues
         1160 Fox Hill
1970 528 East Coast: July
         555 Landscape from East
         954 Border River
1971 374 The First Day of August – watercolour
1972 656 Water of Ken
         686 North Sea
         695 Shelley Wood
         699 Craigmore to Parton
1973 695 Shelley Wood
         699 Craigmore to Parton
1974 627 Craigmore. October
         628 Becky’s Forty
         637 Shelley Top-Land
1975 1150 Mochrum in October – watercolour
         1155 Shelly Michaelmas – watercolour
from Craigmore, Parton, Castle Douglas, Kircudbrightshire
1976 727 Michaelmas Day - watercolour
1977 537 Shelley - watercolour
1978 526 Shelley High Field - watercolour
         527 Hillside, February - drawing

Works by This Artist