Poignant por­trait of har­bour artist’s life

Herald Express - - News -

ONE of Tor­bay’s best-known artists, who cap­tured the beauty of Brix­ham and fea­tured on count­less post­cards of the port, has died at the age of 90.

Terry Burke was born in Brad­ford and was a con­tem­po­rary of David Hock­ney at Brad­ford Col­lege of Art.

He joined the Army Med­i­cal Corps, then qual­i­fied as an art teacher. He moved to Torquay and in 1957 started paint­ing at Mid­dle Quay in Brix­ham as a pro­fes­sional artist.

His work was pub­lished in print or card form by all the ma­jor houses of the day and he gave one-man ex­hi­bi­tions in Lon­don, Brad­ford, Croy­don, Hen­ley and Ber­lin, plus two re­li­gious art ex­hi­bi­tions in York­shire.

His work went on show at Churston Church and Sa­cred Heart Church in Paign­ton.

His friend An­drew Stockman of the Strand Art Gallery said: “He never sought wealth as an artist. He was just happy to paint and for peo­ple to ap­pre­ci­ate his work.”

On Brix­ham har­bour­side the fa­mous ma­rine artist John Chan­cel­lor gave him paint­ing tips which he used up un­til his re­tire­ment due to fail­ing sight at the age of 85.

Terry worked in oils, acrylics and wa­ter­colours, mainly paint­ing the ever-chang­ing light in Brix­ham. He said that he and his fel­low artists of the 50s had been re­spon­si­ble for a vis­ual change in Brix­ham fish­ing boats.

He said: “The fish­ing boats were rather drab in colour, and there was a lot of an­tag­o­nism be­tween the fish­er­men and the artists, who painted pic­tures of boats in bright colours.

“But even­tu­ally fish­er­men be­gan to paint their boats bright colours!”

Terry wore a red smock to paint on the har­bour­side, as the li­censed har­bour­side artists of that time each wore a dif­fer­ent colour smock to iden­tify them. Post­cards of the quay­side at the time showed him at work in his dis­tinc­tive smock.

In 57 years of paint­ing in Brix­ham he sold thou­sands of pen­cil sketches of vis­i­tors, and his paint­ings of Brix­ham are trea­sured in homes and col­lec­tions world­wide. One paint­ing of Brix­ham hangs in the Bri­tan­nia Royal Naval Col­lege in Dart­mouth.

Mr Stockman added: “Terry will be missed by his fel­low artists who painted along­side him through the last 50 decades, not only for his deep knowl­edge of art, for his paint­ings, the friend­ship, and the friendly ri­valry, but also for his deep spir­i­tu­al­ity, his quiet sense of hu­mour, and for al­ways be­ing so pos­i­tive through the ups and downs of life.”

More than 100 peo­ple at­tended his Re­quiem Mass at the Our Lady Star of the Sea church in Brix­ham. The fu­neral cortege stopped at the har­bour­side at the spot where Terry painted.

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