Brushes with genius - St Albans resident Anthony Harris publishes book on art and famous artists

Anthony Harris in his studio.

Anthony Harris in his studio. - Credit: Supplied by Margot Walker

Ahead of his 90th birthday, a St Albans artist has published his own personal journey of creative discovery.

Anthony Harris' book, Brushes with Genius: Anecdotes on Art & Artists, tells his story of discovering art over the past 70 years.

It includes recollections of artists such as English painter Stanley Spencer, who Anthony met in his student days at Reading University.

The long-time St Albans resident has had a distinguished career as an artist and academic, including being head of Camberwell College of Arts in London.

Anthony Harris in his studio.

Anthony Harris in his studio. - Credit: Supplied by Margot Walker

Of her father, Margot Walker said: "He and my mum [Portia Harris] met at university in the 1950s and originally taught art at schools in London before moving to St Albans.

"I'm immensely proud of the fact that he has continued to paint and be creative throughout his life and even now for his birthday he has asked for some new paint brushes."

Brushes with Genius: Anecdotes on Art and Artists is a lifetime story which starts from Anthony's earliest days as a student at Reading University, where he studied fine art and met his future wife.

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It continues for 70 years, in which time he has travelled extensively to create his own paintings in the literal footsteps of Gauguin, Van Gogh, Delacroix, J. M. W. Turner and others.

Thames by Anthony Harris.

Thames by Anthony Harris. - Credit: Anthony Harris

Retracing the famous artists' footsteps, he has created works which have captured landscapes of the Thames, the South of France, Morocco and Tahiti.

Anthony has been involved in art education for many years.

He has lived in St Albans since the 1960s, and was a lecturer and principal of the Hertfordshire College of Art & Design.

During his time at the college he oversaw the development of the building on Hatfield Road before joining Chelsea School of Art and leading Camberwell School of Arts, a constituent college of the University of The Arts London.

Volubilis by Anthony Harris.

Volubilis by Anthony Harris. - Credit: Anthony Harris

As a researcher and art historian, he has delved into archives and visited rarely seen places to uncover masterpieces by Rembrandt and in particular Italian artists Piero Della Francesca and Francesco di Giorgio Martini, who was a contemporary of Leonardo di Vinci.

He has also been Master of The Guild of St George and has published lectures on drawing and Ruskin, and continues to paint to this day.

His book can be purchased in store and online through Waterstones bookshop.

For more information about Anthony Harris, visit