Tom Fenton lives in Coggeshall, after many years in Wivenhoe. Following a career as a school teacher, literary publisher, and voluntary sector manager, he retired in 2011.
Over the years he has built up his own modest art collection, including works by Richard Bawden, Harry Becker, Charlotte Bernays, John Byrne, Tom Coates, Pam Dan, Jill Desborough, James Dodds, Mathilde van der Does de Willebois, William Gilles, Eliza Kentridge, Barbara Rae, Tessa Spencer Pryse, Ralph Steadman, John Ward RA, and other mostly local artists.
He accepted nomination to the Board of the Victor Batte Lay Foundation because he values the creation of a permanent collection of art inspired by and created in East Anglia. The land and the coast between the Blackwater and the Blythe have given birth to an astonishingly rich and varied flowering or creativity in the visual arts just as much as in literature and music. Although there are already fine collections in the region, there is plenty of scope and every reason to bring more visual art into public ownership.
Tom is especially committed to finding ways to make the Foundation’s collection available for local people to see. He has spent much of his trusteeship working on the storage, cataloguing and maintenance of the Collection. He is also Secretary and Treasurer of the Foundation. He sees trusteeship of the Foundation as participating in a sort of relay race, and looks forward to passing on the baton, having had the privilege to contribute some time and energy to the artistic heritage of Colchester and our part of East Anglia.