BALL, William Thomas [Terry]

1931 - 2011

Terry Ball

Born at Greenwich, London, on 14 August 1931, second son of Albert E. Ball and his wife, Mary K., who was known as Dink, née Hannen. Though he was baptised William Thomas, his mother preferred the name Terry which remained with him for the rest of his life. Educated in Carshalton, London but his mother fostered his interest in art and after spending time as an evacuee during the Second World War in North Wales, Terry went to Wimbledon School of Art. In 1952 he began studies at the Royal College of Art in London, where his contemporaries included Frank Auerbach and Bridget Riley, studying under John Minton, Robert Buhler and Ruskin Spear. On graduating, Terry took a job as a hospital orderly hoping to paint enough work in his spare time to give him an exhibition. In 1957, he went to Jericho, where he joined the archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon (1908-1978), drawing finds recovered from her excavations. He fell in love with Palestine and its people, spending long stretches of time there over the next 10 years. It was during the restoration of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem that Terry first grasped the value of reconstruction drawings. One of his earliest works, drawn during the six-day war in 1967, shows the famous church as it was rebuilt in the 1040s. On his return to London, he took a job in the ancient-monuments drawing office at the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, eventually running the office, which was transformed into English Heritage in 1983. He honed his skills with drawings of the Guildhall in London, the Tower of London and Windsor Castle. Through the 1980's, the drawings became part of his official duties, and the volume of work increased as he painted castles, palaces, abbeys and prehistoric monuments. Collaborating with colleagues in the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments, Terry was able to show, for example, how Richmond Castle might have looked in 1400, or how extensive Rievaulx Abbey was in 1530. In later life he cut a dapper artistic figure in his waistcoat and corduroy trousers. In 1992, he was appointed MBE which his mother only discovered when casually reading the published newspaper lists and was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He drew and painted at Walberwick, Suffolk from the early 1970's finally moving to the village with his long-term partner, Christine Sutton. There he became active in the local circle of artists, continuing to paint reconstructions but concentrating on portraits and beautiful, haunting landscapes. He died 23 February 2011, being survived by Christine, two nephews and a niece

Works by This Painter