WRIGHT, Thomas [Tom] Harry

1921 - 1992

Tom Wright

Born at Hadleigh, Suffolk on 31 March 1921, son of Thomas Bucklesdes Wright (1 May 1893-1959), assistant to the engineer in charge of water & sewage works, and his wife Nellie Rhoda née Allen (27 May 1890-1951), who married at Hadleigh in 1917. On leaving school in 1935, was apprenticed as a pargetter and sign painter and in 1939 'a plumber & decorator improver' living at 153 George Street, Hadleigh, Suffolk, with his parents Thomas and Nellie. Lucian Freud (1922-2011) was a pupil at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing at Benton End, Hadleigh, and met Tom in the local inn, the 'Shoulder of Mutton' with whom he discussed his decorative signs and his painting. Freud thought he was both interesting and talented, and urged him to join the community at Benton End and Cedric Morris [q.v.], convinced of Tom's talents, took him into the school and he exhibited at the Ipswich Art Club in 1941 'Suffolk Landscape' and another 'Landscape' the following year. Conscripted into the infantry and on 6 June 1944 was at the 'D' Day landings and taken a prisoner-of-war shortly afterward and on his release, recommenced his training at Benton End. He had an interesting life and, whilst always painting, was variously a plumber, poet, soldier, sculptor, prisoner-of-war, elephant-keeper, translator, film writer and builder. His life was immortalised in the semi-autobiographical film 'Hannibal Brooks', directed by Michael Winner with Oliver Reed playing Tom's character. He married at Sudbury, Suffolk in 1949, Elizabeth Bodman (1928-2015) [Wright q.v.], whom he met at Benton End. Tom died at Norwich in 1992.

Works by This Artist