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Neil Shawcross RUA ARHA (b.1940)
Born in Kearseley, Lancashire, Shawcross studied at the Bolton College of Art (1955-1958) and the Lancashire College of Art (1958-1960). In 1962 he came to Belfast as a part-time lecturer at the then Belfast College of Art and became full-time at the Ulster College of Art and Design in 1968.
The following year he exhibited at the RUA for the first time, and in 1975 won the Academy's Conor Award. He then proceeded to win the Academy's Gold Medal no fewer than five times, between 1978 and 1997. He was made an academician in 1978, and, more recently, an associate member of RHA in 2002. Shawcross is particularly admired for his portraits, which often appear ingenuous and child-like, despite the artist's rigorous training.
Major commissions include portraits of fellow artist Colin Middleton (q.v.), novelist Frances Stuart (now in the Ulster Museum), and Alderman David Cook for the Lord Mayor's Gallery at the Belfast City Hall. He has exhibited extensively, with one-man shows in London, Manchester, Dublin, and Belfast. He has also lectured in the USA at Pennsylvania
Examples of his work can be found in every major public collection in Ireland.