Anthony Earnshaw

Obituary written by (21/08/01).

llkley - born Anthony Earnshaw, who has died aged 76, was a surrealist artist, writer and anarchist of distinction and lively individualism who was famed for his black humour aphorisms.

He was co-author, with colleague Eric Thacker, of the surrealist novels Musrum (1968) and its sequelWintersol (1971) and sole producer of Seven Secret Alphabets (1972), a collection of his drawings.

Earnshaw was a close friend of the art critic and singer George Melly - and died on Melly's 75th birthday. The two were introduced in the 1950s by the artist Patrick Hughes.

Melly became an enthusiastic collector and promoter of his work, which over the years earned critical acclaim for its blend of and meticulously crafted composition.

In the 1990s another patron, Leeds art collector Jeffrey Sherwin, to mark his heart attack and bypass, commissioned two surrealist boxes by Earnshaw, who called them The Glamorous Heart Attack and Make Mine a Quadruple.

Dr Sherwin said yesterday: "This was an example of wit. He was a great Yorkshire surrealist."

Construction of such boxes was a passion of Earnshaw's for many years.

Earnshaw, who formally lived at Chapel Allerton, Leeds and latterly at Saltburn-by-the-Sea, near Redcar, leaves a widow, Gail and two daughters of a previous marriage.

Aphorisms for which he was famed included "sudden prayers make God jump", "the child's whimper provides descant to the tramp of jackboots", "thanks to heroes we know how to strike medals" - "it is apt that obituaries end with a full stop".

Anthony Earnshaw - The Imp of Surrealism