Leeds Arts University, Blenheim Walk, Woodhouse, Leeds LS2 9AQ, UK
Eric Craven Gregory, also known as Peter Gregory (1888 – 10 February 1959) was a publisher and benefactor of modern art and artists in Britain. Amongst the founding members of the ICA in London are five prominent gay men. Peter Watson , Douglas Cooper, Frederick Ashton, Arthur Jeffries and Peter Gregory. Gregory was the director of the Burlington Magazine and chairman of art publishers Percy Lund, Humphries & Co. Ltd. and the Ganymed Press. Amongst queer writers to benefit from his Leeds fellowships were James Kirkup and John Heath-Stubbs. When the paintings committee consisting of three straight men drew up the list of artists to be included in the ground breaking ‘Forty Years of Modern Art: 1907-1947’ it was criticised for the lack of younger artists. The revised list included three gay men (Colquhoun, MacBryde and Craxton) and their associate, the bi-sexual Lucien Freud.
Gregory was a governor of Chelsea Polytechnic, St. Martin’s School of Art and Bath Academy of Art at Corsham Court.
Gregory was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of Congregational Minister James Gregory and his wife Martha. At the age of 23 he was already a printing and publishing manager in Bradford, Yorkshire, continuing the Country Press founded by Percy Lund.
Before the war he mixed in Surrealist circles, publishing their work. In 1946 he was a member of the organising committee of the Museum of Modern Art. Together with Peter Watson, Herbert Read and Roland Penrose, he founded the ICA, generously assisting its financing, and he was on its management committee. He funded some original and successful resident fellowships at Leeds University for young artists, musicians and poets – among whom were Reg Butler, John Heath-Stubbs, James Kirkup and Martin Froy.
Gregory believed in the art and artists of his time, and his company Lund Humphries published exclusively the work of contemporary artists. Among those he encouraged were Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Edward Armitage, Lynn Chadwick, Victor Pasmore, Eduardo Paolozzi and Barbara Hepworth. From 1940 he was a close friend of architect Jane Drew and her family, and they shared the interest in modern art and artists. He never married.
In his will, his left a few of his collection of pictures and sculptures to the Tate Gallery, money to be invested in trust for the benefit of the ICA, and the residue to form a trust fund to provide the Eric Gregory Award for the benefit and encouragement of young British poets.
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