Norman Adams

Dates: b.1927 - d.2005

Gender: Male

Nationality: British

Norman Adams was a leading British, religious painter of the 20th Century. Born to working class parents in Warrington, Adams attended Harrow School of Art until 1947 and the Royal College of Art from 1948 to 1951. Throughout his career he held a variety of prestigious academic posts. Read more…

Featured artworks by this artist:

Other artworks in churches by this artist:

Pilgrims Progress, 1970-71, St Anselm's Church, Kennington; Stations of the Cross, 1975-76, (with Anna Adams) Our Lady of Lourdes, Milton Keynes,Stations of the CrossSt Mary's Church (The Hidden Gem), Manchester,1995

Biography:

Norman Adams was a leading British, religious painter of the 20th Century. Born to working class parents in Warrington, Adams attended Harrow School of Art until 1947 and the Royal College of Art from 1948 to 1951. Throughout his career he held a variety of prestigious academic posts. He was head of painting at Manchester College of Art from 1958-1970 and held the professorship of painting at Newcastle University from 1981-1986. He was elected a Royal Academician in 1972 and was Keeper of the Royal Academy from 1986 until his retirement.

 Many of Adams’s most notable works were his commissions of religious subjects. These include ‘Stations of the Cross’ in Mulberry, Manchester and a series of paintings based on The Pilgrim’s Progress in St. Anselm’s church, Kennington. Describing himself as a ‘compulsive believer’ Adams drew on Christianity and others religions for inspiration rather than instruction. In this respect he felt akin to his great hero, Blake. In 1970 he wrote, “My favourite artist (indeed my favourite man) has always been William Blake, and he, of all people, has had most influence on me (except in his opinion of nature, and I don't believe him when he says, “nature always dried up the imagination in him.” Unlike Blake, Adams drew on nature throughout his career. He completed small watercolours of natural scenes, many of which depicted his beloved Yorkshire. Although a city dweller for much of his life, Adams seems to have connected the countryside with spiritual inspiration, claiming that city artists, ‘lose their heritage and are spiritually emasculated.’

 In the final decade of his life Adams felt that his work was somewhat overlooked due to the rise of ‘Britart’. However he continued to paint, producing enourmous watercolours with biblical titles composed entirely from his imagination.

Official website: http://www.normanadams.mfbiz.com