MORRIS, Thomas 1830-1913. Artist and writer. Little Tom Morris who never grew taller than 3 feet 4 inches made a record of Dulwich, his ‘dear old village’, by means of both paint and pen. Thomas was born in 1830 at a house near the Old Burial Ground, where his parents had a greengrocer’s and milk business. Young Thomas soon displayed various skills. He was, for example, in demand as a violinist at local dances. His special talent, however, was as an artist. At the school of art which he attended he won four medals and a special medallion. Ruskin befriended him, giving him lessons in painting. As Morris said: ‘I received many kindnesses from him and gifts of money from him to buy paints and brushes’. Oil paintings and water-colours by Morris evoke a picture of Dulwich when it was still a rural area, for example, Croxted Lane (now Croxted Road), when it really was a country lane. He began sketching there while watching over his mother’s cows. He gave his paintings to the South London Gallery, where they are still part of the permanent collection. Thomas Morris’ last years were spent at the Old College Almshouses, now known as Edward Alleyn House and he died in August 1913.

Mary Boast