Restlessly experimental artist and teacher whose work often has a magical intensity. He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, son of a linen damask designer who had many artist friends. Middleton reluctantly followed his father into the family business instead of going to art school, took it over on his father’s death in 1935 and did not relinquish it until 1947. After leaving Belfast Royal Academy Middleton attended the College of Art part-time, getting good tuition from Newton Penprase in the design department. Van Gogh and James Ensor were early influences. Middleton’s pre-war work had two main strands: Expressionist scenes in Belfast and Surrealism. In 1934 he first exhibited with Ulster Unit, inspired by Unit One, then in 1943 had an initial solo show at Stranmillis Museum and Art Gallery.

Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)

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