Charles Pulsford

English (1912 - 1989)
Charles Pulsford Untitled (Surrealist Townscape) 1939 © The Estate of Charles Pulsford


Born 1913
Died 1989
Nationality English

Pulsford was born in Staffordshire to Scottish parents who settled in Dunfermline when he was a child. He attended Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) from 1933-7. Following the end of the Second World War, a number of Scottish artists turned their backs on traditional paintings styles and instead embraced modernism and abstraction. Alan Davie, William Turnbull, William Gear and Eduardo Paolozzi are recognised as the key artists of this group, but Pulsford, whose work is less well-known, may be regarded as ‘the fifth man’. He taught at ECA from 1952-60 and latterly at Canterbury College of Art.

Glossary terms

  • A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.