Born at Dawlish of Devonian parentage, he trained at South London School of Art, then St Martin's School of Art. He first exhibited at the RA in 1912. In the same year, at the instigation of Lord Kitchener, he travelled to Egypt as chief inspector of the art and trade schools there. Whilst there, he was engaged by the Egyptian Secret Service to assist with the suppression of drug trafficking. Later he became Head of the Political Section of Cairo CID, becoming friendly with T E Lawrence. Subsequently he was transferred to the British General Staff and rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.
By 1925 he was based in St Ives and was actively involved in the formation of STISA in 1927. He worked with the Newlyn School under the direction of Ernest PROCTER. In 1926 at NAG he exhibited The Abandoned Clay-pit. At NAG (1927) he was reviewed as striking a modern note with his painting of gulls and in 1928 (NAG) he offered A Flutter of Wings, The Moonlight Bather and Back Street St Ives. A versatile painter working in a number of styles, he was highly praised by Julius OLSSON.
His favourite subjects were the harbour and old houses in St Ives and the china clay pits. His St Ives work was reproduced for posters and postcards, so they were affordable to all. A good example is The Quayside, St Ives, reprinted in colour in the Home Lovers Book.
In 1939 Truman exhibited a painting of Polperro at STISA. Mrs Polsue, who ran a picture gallery and tea room in Polperro, commissioned him to produce four postcards of the village.
It is thought that he moved away from St Ives to Plymouth after 1939, and then on to Bristol 1946, remaining active in art circles there.
Landscape and coastal painter in oil and watercolour, etcher and aquatint artist
works and access
Works include: Low tide St Ives Harbour; The Sloop St Ives; (plus those mentioned in the biographical section above)
Polperro views: Inner Harbour and Fish Market; Talland Cliff and Landing Pier; Back of Harbour Looking Inland; View of Harbours and Peak Rock
Access to Work: Bristol; Bristol Cathedral; Plymouth;
In Cornwall: RCM, Truro: Gorsedd 1933 Roche (oil on canvas)
RA (5) NAG 1926; STISA St Ives 1928; Summer, Porthmeor Gallery 1929; Summer, Etching and aquatint section Abbey GL; GI; LI
Barnes Thomas Auction Cat (9 July 2008) col pl: The Sloop St Ives
Buckman (2006) Artists/Britain since 1945:
Hardie (2009) Artists/Newlyn & West Cornwall p286 Bibl
Home Lovers Book of Art
Johnson & Greutzner
Public Catalogue Foundation (2007) Cornwall & Isles of Scilly: Oil Paintings in Public Ownership;
Tovey (2000) George Fagan Bradshaw - Submariner & Marine Artist, etc. STISA Principal members list p228
Tovey (2003) Creating a Splash (Illus)
Tovey (2009) St Ives/ Social History
Tovey (2010) Sea Change
Tovey (2021) Polperro - Cornwall's Forgotten Art Centre - Volume Two - Post-1920, Wilson Books
Wormleighton (1998) Morning Tide, JAP & the Painters of Light