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Eric Malthouse
(1914 — 1997)

Eric Malthouse was born in Erdington, Birmingham on the 20 August 1914. After going to King Edward V1 School at Aston he studied at Birmingham College of Arts and Crafts (1931-37). He was the Art Master at Salt High Schools at Saltaire, Shipley, Yorkshire (1938-39) before spending two years in the Royal Armoured Corps (1940-42). Then he was appointed Lecturer and later Senior Lecturer at Cardiff College of Art (1944-73). He was a founder member of the ‘South Wales Group’ (1949) and of the ‘Group Wales’ (1956-70).


Eric Malthouse studied at the College of Art Birmingham. His important early work was Surrealist and his connection with Cornwall dates from the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 when he was producing landscapes around Mullion Cove. In 1952 he produced his pigeon paintings. It was not until 1955 when he was back in Cornwall that he began, after a series of ‘St. Ives Fishermen’, paintings, the St. Ives ‘Rock Pools’ which were the foundation of his work as a non-figurative painter. These ‘Rock Pool’ paintings, together with the earlier series of paintings of the ‘Flight of Pigeons’, were concerned with a close analysis of colour and a rigorous concern with spatial composition. In 1959 his paintings became completely non-figurative. He had been involved in printmaking since his student days and this became an increasingly important component of his work in Llandaff up to 1963 and subsequently in Penarth . In 1973 he moved to Cargreen in Cornwall where he continued his work with non-figurative oils and prints. In 1981 he moved to Keynsham. His wife Anne died in 1982 and in 1985 he moved back to Barry in South Wales. There he began a series of watercolours of scenes around Barry which he continued until he died on the 12 April 1997.