Anthony Earnshaw

The Imp of Surrealism

The maverick artist and writer Anthony Earnshaw (1924 – 2001) was an original and witty thinker in the latter half of the 20th century, and his northern working-class roots were turned on their head by his discovery of surrealism and jazz in post-war 1940s England.

Although he was self-taught, it would be inaccurate to describe Earnshaw as an ‘outsider artist’, more an armchair anarchist whose sympathies lay with the underdog – his rebellious temperament would position his work on the margins of an art establishment.

His diverse output includes drawings, paintings, poetry, writing, comic strips and illustrated novels, letterforms, boxed assemblages, and some late crayon drawings. Despite his wariness of the ‘art mafia’ it did not stop him exhibiting widely.

This fully-illustrated publication, compiled and edited by Les Coleman, includes essays, commentaries, and anecdotes from the artist’s friends, critics, and professional associates, and provides the first opportunity to examine the complexity of Earnshaw’s contribution to art and literature, and so position his work within a broader intellectual and social context.

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