Kit Barker

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Kit Barker (1916–1988) was a British painter.


Barker was born in London on 1916, the younger brother of the poet George Barker. In 1948 he married the writer Ilse Gross (1921–2006), who wrote under the pen name Katherine Talbot.[1]

Barker served in the British Army from 1942 to 1945.

Barker lived in Cornwall from 1947 to 1948, where he and Ilse were involved with the artists' colony in St Ives.[2]

In 1949 Kit and Ilse Barker they travelled to the USA where Kit lectured at Skidmore College in New York. Kit later taught with Hassel Smith, Elmer Bischoff and David Park at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco (1951–1952). During their time in the USA, Kit and Ilse Barker stayed at Yaddo artists' community in Saratoga Springs, New York.[2]

From 1953 Barker lived on Bexley hill, Sussex[2] and travelled extensively in Europe and the US.

Kit and Ilse Barker had one son, Thomas (born 1962).

Kit Barker died in West Sussex in 1988.


Barker was a self-taught artist. His influences included the surrealists – he exhibited some surrelaist paintings.

His work is found in private collections in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Italy, South Africa, Sweden, the United States and Germany.

Public collections[edit]

Barkers works have been purchased by:

Major one-man exhibitions[edit]

  • 1950 Weyhe Gallery, New York
  • 1951 Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco
  • 1951 St. Louis Artists' Guild, St Louis
  • 1957 Hanover Gallery, London
  • 1959 Waddington Galleries, London
  • 1960 Waddington Galleries, Montreal
  • 1961 Waddington Galleries, London
  • 1964 Waddington Galleries, London
  • 1965 Waddington Galleries, Montreal
  • 1966 Waddington Galleries, London
  • 1967 Waddington Galleries, Montreal
  • 1970 Arthur Tooth & Sons, London
  • 1971 Villiers Art Gallery, Sydney, Australia
  • 1972 Toorak Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
  • 1972 Arthur Tooth & Sons, London
  • 1978 Christ's Hospital Arts Centre, Horsham, Sussex
  • 1981 The New Arts Centre, London
  • 1988 Newburg Street Gallery, London
  • 2001 University College Chichester, Otter Gallery, Sussex
  • 2005 The Canon Gallery Petworth, Sussex

Barker had regular one man exhibitions throughout the 1960s and 1970s at: The David Paul Gallery, Chichester, Sussex; Reid Gallery, Guildford, Surrey and Century Galleries, Henley on Thames.

Major group exhibitions[edit]

Other reproduced works include[edit]

  • Frost and Reed [Venture] prints, 'Marsh Brasses & Inner Harbour, Concarneau 1964.
  • Winter At Gurnard's Head, poem poster with David Wright MidNAG 1979.
  • Curlew, poem poster with Leslie Norris Armstrong poem poster 1969.
  • North Haven, poem poster with Elizabeth Bishop Lord John Press 1979.


  1. ^ Ilse Barker's obituary in the Times
  2. ^ a b c Oldham, Alison (3 June 2006). "Obituary: Ilse Barker". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 May 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • 'Contemporary British Art', Herbert Read, Penguin Books, [illustrated work p42]. ISBN 978-0-14-020250-2
  • St Ives 1939-64 Twenty Five Years Of Painting, Sculpture And Pottery, Tate Gallery Publications, 1985 ISBN 0-946590-20-6.
  • Kit Barker, Cornwall 1947-1948 Recollections Of Painters And Writers, Katherine Talbot, The Book Gallery, 1993 ISBN 1-897986-02-5 (Katherine Talbot was the pen name of Barker's wife, Ilse.)