British artist Sir Terry Frost RA (b. 1915-2003) was a leading figure in British abstract art, and one of the most significant printmakers of the twentieth century. Born in Leamington Spa in 1915, Frost left school at the age of 14 and worked at Curry's Cycle shop and then Armstrong Whitworth in Coventry until the outbreak of war. He served in countries as diverse as Palestine and Greece, before being captured in 1941. Frost remained a prisoner until the end of the war, an experience that changed his outlook on life and introduced him to the possibilities of art. Whilst being held prisoner in Bavaria, Frost began to paint and draw, encouraged by young artist and fellow prisoner Adrian Heath.


He once said: “In the prisoner-of-war camp I got tremendous spiritual experience, a more aware or heightened perception during starvation, and I honestly do not think that awakening has ever left me.” On his return to Britain, Frost moved to St. Ives in Cornwall to be amongst the burgeoning artistic community there. Excluding brief stints in other locations, St. Ives and its local environs was where Frost lived and worked for the rest of his life and his work reflects the inspiration he found in the Cornish light, glittering seas and watery reflections. He attended the St. Ives School of Art before spending 1947 - 1950 commuting to London in order to attend the Camberwell School of Art. His early work was figurative, but it was the influence of Victor Pasmore at Camberwell combined with that of Ben Nicholson that led Frost to paint his first abstract painting on 1949.


Frost worked as Barbara Hepworth's assistant in 1951 and had his first solo exhibition at the Leicester Galleries in 1952. Frost taught at many institutions including the Bath Academy of Art (1952-1954), Leeds University (who awarded him he was the Gregory Fellowship in 1954) and Reading University. By 1960, Frost had his first solo show in New York at the Barbara Schaefer Gallery, and whilst he was there, he met some of the leading American Abstract Expressionists; an experience that soon encouraged him to start painting on a much larger scale. Frost was awarded the John Moore's Prize in 1965, elected to the Royal Academy in 1992, and granted a knighthood in 1998. A retrospective of the artist’s work was held at the Royal Academy in London in 2000. Frost sadly passed away in 2003 aged 87, but his legacy lives on and his works continue to be a vital part of public collections such as the Tate Gallery (London), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), and the National Galleries of Scotland (Edinburgh).