Phantoms from Knossos II, 1988

by Terry Frost


DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 24.0 x 30.0 inches (61.0 x 76.2 cms)
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas
SIGNATURE: Signed and dated (verso)

In Phantoms from Knossos II, Terry Frost has used his signature circles and luminous colours to capture the atmosphere of the ancient city in Crete. Direct reference to the site are elicited through the mythological figures in the circles, reminiscent of medallion coins, that revolve around the bright, overpowering sun. Additionally the vibrant blues, yellows and reds conjure up the feeling of the warm Cretan sky and sun.


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    During World War II, Frost served in France, the Middle East and Greece, before joining the commandos. Whilst serving with the commandos in Crete in June 1941 he was captured and sent to various concentration camps. Frost’s work reflects his gratitude and joie de vivre at having survived wartime incarceration – full of colour and light.  Inspired by nature, Frost took natural forms and abstracted them into sensuous circles and curves. These shapes are often coloured in dramatic reds, oranges, blues and blacks.

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    Sir Terry Frost was born in 1915 at Leamington Spa in Warwickshire and did not become an artist until he was in his 30s. His artistic talent was discovered during the four years he spent as a prisoner of war in a camp in Bavaria during the Second World War, where he met another artist by the name of Adrian Heath, who taught him.  Of his experience Frost said “In 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”.


    Subsequently on his return to the United Kingdom, he studied at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts and St. Ives School of Art. In 1951, he worked as an assistant to the sculptor Barbara Hepworth. His career included teaching at the Bath Academy of Art, serving as Gregory Fellow at the University of Leeds, and teaching at the Cyprus College of Art.  By the late 1950’s he had become established as a leading abstract painter exhibiting on a regular basis in London and throughout the world.


    It was in 1974 when he moved permanently to Newlyn in Cornwall where his love of the area gave such a rich source of inspiration for much of his work.  A retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Mayor Gallery, London in 1990, and in 2000 a major retrospective, ‘Terry Frost: Six Decades’ was held at the Royal Academy of Arts.


    The artist was one of the UK’s most successful and highly acclaimed artists of the 20th Century and was granted a Knighthood in 1998 in recognition for his art.

    If the artwork is up to £25,00 in value, and the artist is still alive, Trinity House can arrange a 0% interest loan through the Own Art scheme. Own Art is a Creative United initiative supported by Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Some other restrictions apply see…

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