Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips is a painter whose novel A Humument, part pictures, part words, came out last year.

Tom Phillips: An Interview

Tom Phillips, Adam Smyth and Gill Partington, 11 October 2012

Tom Phillips, who was born in 1937, is a painter, printmaker and collagist, and the creator of ‘A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel’, which was reviewed by Adam Smyth in the issue of 12 October 2012. The following conversation took place on 16 September 2011 at the South London Gallery, between Phillips (TP), Smyth (AS) and Gill Partington (GP).

AS: Do you have many academic...


Tom Phillips, 2 April 1981

If that famous omnibus has not yet reached Clapham, its poor browbeaten passenger, the unwitting touchstone of our century’s discourse, should he turn his thoughts towards art, might reasonably assume that Modernism and Modern Art were acceptable ways of referring to what is going on at the moment. He would perhaps be bewildered and dismayed to learn that we are so well into Post-Modernism that Neo-Modernism must be just over the hill. Indeed, according to Frank Kermode, we passed out of Palaeo-Modernism some time ago (imperceptibly, one presumes, as through the tail of a comet). He might, however, be consoled by the knowledge that artists themselves are confused, though themselves in turn consoled by remembering Barnett Newman’s aphorism: ‘Aesthetics is to the artist as ornithology is to the birds.’ It is not difficult to imagine a painter, like some character in Borges, looking himself up to find out what to call what he was doing; the isms grow in quick and dull profusion, and a week is beginning to be a long time in art as well.

Double Act: ‘A Humument’

Adam Smyth, 11 October 2012

On a Saturday morning in November 1966, Tom Phillips picked a book at random from a pile of novels at a house-clearance sale in Peckham Rye. Phillips had never heard of W.H. Mallock’s A...

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End of Story

Robert Taubman, 20 November 1980

‘In this unique fiction,’ say the publishers, ‘word and image meet with a richness scarcely seen since Blake.’ Certainly A Humument is no ordinary novel: but nor is it...

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