Tommy Morrissey: fisherman painter is a photo story of the working life
and works of art of a fisherman from the small Cornish port of Padstow,
set against the social history of his home town over the last century.
His account books indicate why he needed to augment his earnings by
taking tourists on fishing trips. Over 200 photographs from family
albums and from local archives illustrate the background against which
Tommy painted his portraits of ships and designed and painted registration
numbers on local boats.
Tommy Morrissey (1915-96) was born into a fishing/boating family in
Padstow, Cornwall. During his early life, Padstow was a fishing and trading
port, a place to shop and a holiday destination for the well-off.
A self-taught painter, Tommy had shown talent for art as a child, but had
to contribute to the family finances as soon as he left school at 14. The time
and circumstances meant he was unlikely to earn a living other than from
the sea – working the fish market, fishing on trawlers and from the family
boats, and ‘taking trippers out’.
Tommy’s artwork echoes his life at sea. He painted on hardboard and
canvas at the kitchen table, and made ships in bottles when bad weather
stopped him going to sea. The bottles were sold to trippers to augment
family earnings, but the paintings were solely for friends and family
and given as gifts. He painted portraits of the boats he had worked on,
and the boats of his fisherman friends, and created a signwriting alphabet
for painting boat names and registration numbers in Padstow.
This book is published by SPUR VALERIAN PRESS
ISBN 978 0 9574398 2 5
Available from July 2016 via this website
168 full colour pages
210mm x 297mm
Paperback price £27.00
UK postage £3.00
About the designer
Gill Scott studied at Falmouth School of Art and Central School of Art and
Design. She specialises in information design, typography and letter design.
As one of the Padstow children whose playground was the Quay she watched
Tommy signwrite the registration numbers on the boats.
The PRESS is named after the plant spur valerian – known locally as Padstow pride.