Anthony Farrell (b. 1945) Summer at Night

Anthony Farrell (b. 1945) Summer at Night


Anthony Farrell was born on the twenty-third of March 1945, the son of William and Mary Farrell in Epsom, Surrey. Farrell, his two sisters and parents moved from Surrey to the South-East where he attended the local comprehensive, Belfairs High School, before moving on to the Southend School of Art for two years from 1961. Realizing his potential as an artist, Farrell then studied at the distinguished Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts between 1963 to 1965, and then at the Royal Academy Schools until 1968, winning the Landseer Prize, the David Murray Scholarship and the Connoisseur Prize.� After training as an artist, Farrell began to teach part-time from 1976 at numerous schools and art centers. It was during these years, in particular the hot summers, that Farrell began initial studies of people at the intimate beach at Leigh-on-sea. After many years of work developing these images he began to exhibit the series of paintings in 1982 and won an Eastern Arts Association Fellowship and the Association’s Exhibition Award. Farrell has been a successful applicant of the RA’s Summer Exhibition, having his work displayed continuously between 1975 and 1982 and then frequently, including his 2009 etching Balancing Man. Although his painting Summer at Night was never exhibited at the RA, the theme of the work was commonly used in his other pieces. The artist still continues to work and live on the Essex coast, at Leigh-on-Sea.


Solo Exhibitions:

  • 1968-1972, Brunel University, London;
  • 1975, ‘Recent Paintings’, The Royal Academy Common Room, London;
  • 1982, ‘Recent Painting’ Riverside Studios, London;
  • 1983 ‘Paintings, Drawings and Etchings’ The Minories, Colchester;
  • 1984-1990 ‘Paintings of People’, Christchurch Mansion, Wolsey Gallery, Essex; 1992, ‘A Whole Rainbow of People: Paintings, Drawings and Etchings’, Art Space Gallery, London;
  • 1998, ‘Anthony Farrell: Paintings & Prints’, Gainsborough House, Suffolk;
  • 1991 ‘Paintings of People 1984-1990’, Beecroft Gallery, Westcliff;

Group Exhibitions:

1975-6 ‘Drawings of People’, The Serpentine, London; 1986-7 ‘A Reputation Among Artists’, Norwich School of Art; ‘British Drawing’, Hayward Gallery, London; ‘A Singular Vision’ Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Tour, London; South Bank Picture Show, London; Royal Festival Hall, London; Waterman Fine Art, London; Cadogan Contemporary Art, London; The RA Summer Exhibition (20 showings), London; The Serpentine Summer Exhibition, London


Summer at Night shows the activity of a beach at Leigh-on-sea at the height of the summer. Although the image may not evoke the most recent memories of a British summer it does remind one of heat waves from the past, of hose-pipe bans and frolicking in the sea right into the dead of night. Indeed the artist began to make studies for Summer at Night in 1976, when Britain endured both long spells of high temperatures and also a severe drought. The extremity of the whether can be seen in the uncharacteristic behavior of the people in Farrell’s painting. Dipping into the usually cold dreary sea has suddenly become the only remedy to the dry hot Indian summer. Even at night the closeness of the heat is expressed by the series of vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines which fragment the otherwise vast dark blue sea and sky, giving a feeling of the constraint of humidity. However coupled with the hazy dry colours which Farrell uses for the sea, the figures and the small sections of fiery orange desert-like sand, the effect is not restraint but gives the nostalgic feeling that anything can happen when the whether itself breaks the regular rules.


David Buckman, Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945, (Art Dictionaries Ltd, Bristol, 1998), p. 412.

K.G Saur, The Artists of the World: Bio-bibliographical A-Z, 2nd revised and enlarged edition, (GmbH & Co, Munchen-Leipzig, 2007), p. 32.

Who’s Who in Art: Twenty-Sixth Edition, (The Art Trade Press, Surrey, 1994), pp. 162-63.

Cassandra Cunningham