1921 - 1992

Tom Wright

Thomas Harry Wright was born at Hadleigh, Suffolk on 31 March 1921, son of Thomas Buckledes 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, Tom, as he was known, 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, a pupil at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing at Benton End, Hadleigh, met Tom in the local inn, the 'Shoulder of Mutton' with whom he discussed Tom's decorative signs and paintings. Freud thought he was both interesting and talented, and urged him to join the community at Benton End where Cedric Morris, 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, being taken a prisoner-of-war shortly afterward. On demobilisation Tom, nicknamed Tiny Mite, recommenced his training at Benton End and had an interesting life; whilst always painting, had variously been 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. Tom married at Sudbury, Suffolk in 1949, Elizabeth Bodman, Elizabeth Wright, whom he met at Benton End. Thomas Harry Wright died at Raven Yard, King Street, Norwich on 9 May 1992.

Works by This Artist