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Tate Adams



Adams Tate

(b Holywood, County Down, Ireland, 26 Jan 1922). Australian painter, printmaker, book designer, lecturer, collector, gallery director and publisher of limited edition artists’ books, of Irish decent. He worked as a draughtsman before entering war service in the British Admiralty from 1940 to 1949, including five years in Colombo, where he made sketching trips to jungle temples with the Buddhist monk and artist Manjsiro Thero. Between 1949 and 1951 Adams worked as an exhibition designer in London and studied wood-engraving with Gertrude Hermes in her evening class at the Central School of Arts and Crafts (now Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design). In 1951, after moving to Melbourne, Adams began a 30-year teaching commitment at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), where he instructed many of the younger generation of Australian printmakers, including George Baldessin and Jan Senbergs. A brief return to Britain and Ireland in 1957–8 provided experience with Dolmen Press, Dublin, which published his first book of engravings, The Soul Cages (1958). Returning to Melbourne, Adams established a specialized printmaking diploma at the RMIT and, from 1959, undertook nine journeys to Japan, making contact with contemporary printmakers there. His Crossley Gallery, the first in Australia devoted exclusively to prints, opened in 1966. Located in Melbourne, it became the active hub of Australian contemporary printmaking, showing such artists as Fred Williams, Roger Kemp, Leonard French and John Brack. In 1974 Adams and Baldessin opened the Crossley Print Workshop to publish artists’ prints. Subsequently the Lyre Bird Press, established in 1977, published fine-quality limited-edition books, among them the award-winning John Brack Nudes (1982). In 1989, shortly before his election to Fellowship of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers, Adams moved to northern Queensland, re-establishing the Lyre Bird Press at James Cook University of North Queensland, Townsville, where it continues to publish.


Irish Village. c.1955





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