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James Tower
(1919 — 1988)

James Tower was a British painter, sculptor and ceramicist. Born in Kent in 1919, Tower studied painting and illustration at the Royal Academy between the years of 1938 – 1940 where he achieved great success, winning the Gold Medal for Painting during his time there. After the Second World War, Tower continued his artistic education by enrolling at the Slade School of Art in 1946. It was here that the artist first became fascinated with ceramics, continuing to receive instruction in the medium at the London Institute after graduating from the Slade. In 1949 Tower was asked to devise a ceramics course at the Bath Academy of Art, a vibrant environment in which he became acquainted with several forward-thinking artists of the time. Surrounded by individualistic, impassioned artists, Tower began to develop his own unique approach to ceramics. His work is characterised by an emphasis on the abstract; organic shapes and painterly forms suspended in pottery. Having regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy, his first solo exhibition was held in 1951 at Gimpel Fils in London, the beginning of a long relationship with the gallery.


In 1966, Tower was appointed Head of Fine Art at the Brighton College of Art, though the artist continued to exhibit at solo and group shows throughout Britain. During the later stages of his career, Tower experimented with sculptural forms before returning his focus upon the unique ceramics that brought such joy and celebration upon the artist. Tower died in Sussex in 1988. His work can be seen in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and the Art Institute of Chicago among others.