John Tunnard

John Samuel Tunnard is known for his paintings of private worlds. He studied at the Royal College of Art and was a textile designer until his early 30s when he started to paint. His work was initially realist, often with gates or telegraph poles guiding the viewer into the far distance. He then turned to more abstract painting and from the 1940s onwards developed his characteristic style seen in Holiday.

Tunnard was sometimes called a surrealist and was several times in the late 1930s included in exhibitions with well-known surrealists, but this was never a term which strict surrealists applied to him, nor one which he applied to himself. Klee, Miro and the constructivists had the most influence on his work.

Many of his works from the late 1930s and 1940s are held by the Tate and regional and overseas galleries, but there is little from the late period in public collections – not because of the quality of the painting, but simply because Tunnard had gone out of fashion by the mid-1960s.


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