Frederick John Pym Gore RA, CBE

Frederick John Pym Gore, RA, CBE

1913 – 2009


Frederick Gore was born on 8 November 1913 into a family of artists; his mother, Mary Joanna (Molly) Kerr, was a dancer from Edinburgh, and his father, Spencer Frederick Gore, a painter, Royal Academician and President of the Camden Town Group.


As a young man Gore’s ambition was to be a philosopher, but as a student at Trinity College, Oxford, (following in the steps of his great uncle Bishop Charles Gore) he soon found that his real passion was for drawing and painting at the Ruskin School of Art which he attended almost daily from 1934 until 1934.


Leaving Oxford, and arriving in London, he trained at the Slade under Tonks and at Westminster with Gertler and Polunin from whom he learnt the flat-on-the-floor method of painting backdrops for the theatre: most useful later on when as an active member of the Balalaika Dance Group as dancer and organiser of events, he enhanced their productions with his professional expertise. He wrote a very successful folk ballet.


Pre-WWII his career took off when a Greek patron saw his work and asked him to spend a year travelling and painting in Greece. Visits and extended sojourns to France followed, and an exhibition at Gallery Borghese in Paris in 1938 when Vauxelles called him the English fauve. Soon after, however, he was forced to leave and return to the UK.


During the 1939-45 war he was camouflage officer for the south-east and helped prepare the troops for the D-Day invasion.


In 1946 he began teaching at St. Martin’s School of Art, where he was Head of Painting from 1951 until 1979. In 1961 he was appointed Vice-Principal of St Martins until he retired from the post in 1979. His students and colleagues there included many of the most accomplished artists of the twentieth century who continue to acknowledge the encouragement they received from Gore.


He exhibited at the Redfern Gallery until they took to abstract art, the Juster Gallery (NY), Fosse, Lavenham, Richmond Hill Gallery et al.-- always keeping his independence to exhibit wherever he so wanted.

Frederick Gore was a Trustee of the Imperial War Museum from 1967 until 1984 and was Chairman of its Artistic Records Committee (1972-1986).


Gore was elected Royal Academician in 1972 (ARA 1963) and was appointed Chairman of the RA Exhibitions Committee (1976-87). He was a Trustee of the Imperial War Museum from 1967 to 1984 and was Chairman of its Artistic Records Committee (1972-86). Frederick Gore was made CBE in 1987. In 1991 he designed a series of posters for the London Transport Museum, who still hold examples of his work.


His published books include "Abstract Art", "Painting: Some Basic Principles" and "The Baptism, Piero della Francesca"; he is also the author of an unpublished translation of poems by Baudelaire.


Recent solo exhibitions

2007 Richmond Hill Gallery, London
Dover Street Arts Club
2006 Jonathan Wylder, London
2003 Fosse Gallery, Cheltenham
1989 Royal Academy of Arts, London


Public collections

Contemporary Art Society
Leicester County Council
Southampton City Art Gallery
Plymouth City Art Gallery
Rutherston Collection

Arts Council of Great Britain

British Council

The Government Art Collection

London Transport Museum

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

The Gallery, Canada