VAN OSS, Tom

1901 - 1941

Tom Van Oss

Thomas Willem Van Oss was born at Walberswick, Suffolk on 14 March 1901, second of the eight children of Salomon Frederik van Oss-Meijor, known as Steven Frederick van Oss (1868-1949), journalist and banker, and his wife Winifred Agnes Davidson (10 September 1876-18 April 1965), daughter of Thomas Davidson, who married at Hampstead in 1896 and divorced in 1925. In 1902, Thomas's father decided to return to Holland with his family, but in 1909, Thomas entered Lynams School, now Dragon School, in Oxford where his drawing master named Higginson, who was killed in the First World War, had a major influence on him. In 1911, Thomas was living at the home of his maternal grandparents at Walberswick, Suffolk together with his mother and two siblings, Marcus Dunbar 14, born Cricklewood, London and Colne James (1902-1935), born The Hague, Holland. In 1914 his father decided to continue Thomas's education in Holland as a potential successor to take over his newspaper 'Haagsche Post'. In 1921, Thomas entered Leiden University in Netherlands to study law but gave this up, and in 1923 tried working as an artist and writer for his father's paper but they fell out over a cartoon printed without his father's permission. Thomas then concentrated on his art, making a small living, and in 1926 exhibited in Plainfield, U.S.A., was 'Daily Express' Young Artist in 1927 and in 1928 exhibited at the Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo. Tom married at Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Street, Chelsea, London in June 1930, Favell Margaret Bevan (1901-1996), daughter of Lady Mary Bevan, whom he had first met in the Hague where her father was an English chaplain, and they had three children. They lived in Villefranche-sur-Mer, France for a year before returning to his mother's hometown of Walberswick, where his mother's late brother artist Allan Douglas Davidson, had also lived. In 1936 the family moved to Old Corner House (now The Hermitage), Deddington, Banbury, Oxfordshire, and Tom was sufficiently prosperous to open a London Studio at 11 Avenue Studios, Sydney Street, Chelsea, but in 1939 his mother Winifred was still living at Millcroft, Millfield Road, Walberswick. Tom was a landscape and portrait painter, who took over his uncle's Allan Davidson's studio on the river Blyth, near the ferry to Southwold, where he painted primarily landscapes and portraits. A member of Ipswich Art Club 1934-1936, exhibiting from Coopers Hill, Walberswick in 1934, 'Portrait of Allan Davidson, R.O.I.', 'Carpenter' and 'Carnations, Stocks and Sweet Peas' and in 1935, two works 'Proceeding out of Cromarty Harbour at Dawn' and 'Portrait of A. E. Coppard'. He also exhibited at Royal Academy; Cooling & Sons Gallery; Royal Society of Portrait Painters; Royal Institute of Oil Painters and the Walker Gallery, London. During the Second World War, a major in the Royal Engineers and whilst inspecting coastal camouflage in a patrol boat offshore near Boston, Lincolnshire, his boat struck a mine when he, and fifteen others, were killed on 3 November 1941. His wife married again, at Reading in 1951, Arthur Luard Pears (1894-1958), a retired naval officer, and she died at Salisbury on 14 August 1996 and their grand-daughter Angela Van Oss, is a well-known contemporary artist. He signed his works 'Tom Van Oss' or 'Van Oss'.

Royal Academy Exhibits
from 12 Russell Square, London
1930 251 The Viscount Buckhurst
from Chelsea Arts Club, Old Church Street, London
1938 390 Convalescent
from 11 Avenue Studios, Chelsea
1939 359 Lunch Time




Works by This Artist