Harold was the sixth child in a family of seven children. His father was John Nicholas Thornton, a tram conductor (born 1879 Lambton, NSW, died 1942 Enfield), and his mother was Anne (née Burgess, born 1885 Enfield, died 1953 Enfield).
Harold took up art at an early age and attended both the Orban School of Art and the Julian Ashton School of art. He was prolific and his art career spanned more than 60 years from traditional portraits and landscapes, to surrealist-type art, and some art commentators classify Harold's later works to be in the Naive style. But Harold himself would have rejected any classification of his art. He was an early Australian proponent of using bold, bright colours, and had an influence over artists such as Martin Sharp, Ken Done and Tim Gratton the body artist.
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (October 2009)|
- Britton, Stephanie. "Naive Archive". Artlink 12 (4).
- Cochrane, Peter (13 March 1991). "That's The Artist On The Right". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 3. Factiva smhh000020011110dn3d004ko.
- Schofield, Leo (13 June 2009). "Bob's back in the picture". Hobart Mercury. Factiva MRCURY0020090612e56d0002v.
- Sheehan, Paul (27 December 2000). "Let The Eccentricity Shine Through As We Celebrate Our Nationhood". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 20. Factiva smhh000020010813dwcr00xpm.
- Sutton, Candace (10 January 1993). "Painting From Palette Of Fun". The Sun-Herald. p. 126. Factiva shd0000020011101dp1a000d4.
- Totaro, Paola (18 November 1985). "'Last of punks' brings art to the people". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 6.
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