Tom Carr (1909-1999)

Making Coloured Parachutes (1944)

Oil on canvas

76.5cm x 63.8cm

Courtesy of Board of Trustees of National Museums NI. Donated by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee (per the Imperial War Museum).

Tom Carr was born in Belfast in 1909, the son of a stockbroker, his grandfather, John Hughes Workman, was a watercolourist. In 1927, he was educated at the Slade School of Art in London under Henry Tonks before moving to Italy to further his education at the British School in Rome. In 1938, after some time back in London, he returned permanently to Northern Ireland where he spent much of his time painting in Newcastle, Co. Down. Throughout his career he established himself as a well-regarded artist of domestic scenes and although he was primarily a realist painter, he was also associated with the representational style.

During the Second World War Carr was commissioned by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee to paint manufacturing for the war effort in Belfast. This piece, Making Coloured Parachutes is one of these commissions and depicts a group of women sewing parachutes in a factory.

After the war, Carr taught at the Belfast College of Art. He was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy, London and was a member of the Royal Ulster Academy, the New English Art Club, the Royal Watercolour Society and an honorary member of the Royal Hibernian Academy. His work is in the collection of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Ulster Museum and one of his paintings was obtained by Her Majesty The Queen Mother.