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Patrick Venton (1925-1987)

Venton was born and educated in Birmingham. He worked as a clerk for a short time before joining the Army (aged 18), but was invalided out after three years with serious clinical depression, for which he received electric shock treatment. His elder brother was killed at Arnhem, an event the family never really recovered from and which contributed to Venton's state of mind. After being demobbed in 1946, he attended the Birmingham College of Art, where he met and married his wife Zena in 1951. In his early years he was interested in Surrealism and for a while had a painting room in the house of Conroy Maddox. Amongst Venton's collection of books was a copy of Salvador Dali's autobiography, which got placed in an old tea-chest during a house move and forgotten, only to be rediscovered many years later having surreally been infested and transformed into a wasps' nest. Venton lectured at Birmingham College of Art and later in London at He