Tom Cross was born in Manchester. His art training was at the Slade School followed by two years travelling and painting in France and Italy.

His first administrative post was with the Welsh Arts Council, before lecturing in painting alongside his own work at Reading University. In 1976 he became Principal of the Falmouth School of Art (now College, and part of the University College Falmouth). Writing and lecturing continued in his eventual retirement (1987), and his books, emanating as they do from his considerable artistic ability and academic knowledge, form a trilogy recounting the history of the Newlyn and St Ives Schools of Art. He continued to write and lecture, as well as paint in his own studio until his death in 2008. 

His bibliography is impressive, and includes the now standard works on the histories of the Newlyn and St Ives schools of art, which he treated together, though recognising their distinctive differences. The special strengths of his writings are in presenting the views and critical opinions of a professional artist, together with a recognition of the ebb and flow of styles through time. His widow and long-time manager of his studio, Pat CROSS (who died in 2022) was a talented artist-craftworker in her own right (1988 Craft Work South West exhibition).

Both he and Pat contributed significantly and fully to the unique flavours of Cornish arts and interests in a variety of ways. Cross also contributed entries on many artists to the Dictionary of National Biography (DNB)

In 2023 Tom Cross's son David and daughter-in-law Carol took over Tom's estate, including his extensive art collection. This can be accessed at:


Painter, teacher, administrator, author

works and access

Works include: Publications Painting the Warmth of the Sun (1984); The Shining Sands (1994) and Catching the Wave (2002), forming a continuous trilogy recounting the stories of the development of art and artists' colonies in Cornwall.


Prolific exhibitor in solo and mixed shows.

1992: Artists from Cornwall, RWE exh, Bristol

2023: Tom Cross : Paintings from the Artist's Studio (14 Oct-6 Nov) across two venues:

    The Hepworth Room, Penwith Gallery, Back Road West, St Ives TR26 1NL

    Belgrave St Ives, Higher Bussow Farm, Towednack, St Ives TR26 3BB


Penwith Society of Arts, Chairman 1982-84

Chelsea Arts Club; 


Buckman (2006) Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945

Cross (1984) Painting the Warmth of the Sun;

Cross (1992) Essay: 'Artists from Cornwall' [in] RWE Catalogue for Artists from Cornwall Exhibition, Bristol

Cross (1994) The Shining Sands; 

Cross(2002) Catching the Wave; etc

Exh Cat: 20 Years of Contemporary Art at Falmouth Art Gallery 1980-2000

RWE (1992) Artists from Cornwall, Bristol