Sir Terry Frost, RA.

Beaufort Street, ’48

Graphite on paper

After returning from Bavaria where he was held a prisoner of war, Terry Frost enrolled at Camberwell College under the tutorship of Victor Pasmore. His fellow POW and life long friend Adrian Heath had recommended that Frost first visit the Cornish art community in St Ives. During his year in Cornwall, Frost fell under the influence of Ben Nicholson and first experimented with abstracted still life drawings, as his mentor often did.

David Lewis goes on to highlight how close the two artists were;

“Some mornings in St Ives, in 1948 and 1949, after our respective stints of waiting at the breakfast tables of holiday-makers, Terry Frost and I would meet at his studio to talk and look at work in progress. To get there we would walk along Back Road West, almost to the end where Alfred Wallis’s cottage was. On the right were Porthmeor Studios and up the steps was Willie’s (Wilhelmina Barns-Graham’s) studio, with its great windows overlooking the curve of Porthmeor Beach. But there we would turn right and walk down a ramp of smooth granite blocks to two doors at the far end – one of which opened into Terry’s studio and the other into Ben Nicholson’s (later Patrick Heron’s).

The wall between Terry’s studio and Ben’s was so thin we could hear sounds through it. We could hear Ben moving around with that prancing step of his, somewhat between walking and dancing. We could hear him switch on the little radio he kept on an old orange box, or wind the handle of his gramophone and put on a New Orleans jazz record, and Jelly Roll Morton would strike up the beat. And we could hear Ben begin to scrape at the surface of his paintings with a razor blade, scrrch-scrrch-scrrch. Then we’d hear him abruptly stop the music. And in the silence that followed we’d hear the scraping begin again, but more methodically now, and Terry and I would stop our chatter, respecting the physical presence of Ben’s concentration.”

On returning to London, Terry Frost spent much time at Philip Matthews studio in Beaufort Street where in this drawing of 1948, he captured the artists kitchen in the semi abstract style he had learnt from Nicholson.

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