Frederick Hutchinson Page was an artist who is regarded as South Africa’s foremost Surrealist painter. He died in 1984 at the age of 76 having produced a body of work which is remarkable not only for its unique personal imagery, but which is also one of the few examples, in the 20th century, of an painter who portrays with some accuracy, the particular architectural features of the city in which he lived.

Between 1947 and 1980, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, formed the backdrop for his extraordinarily fertile visual imagination. Reclusive by choice, he lived in an area close to the city’s harbour called Central where most of the material he used for the images was gleaned from sketches and photographs.

Apart from a brief formative sojourn at art school for a year, he was largely self-educated. He read widely and had discriminating tastes in classical music.

Unaffected by contemporary world trends in art, Page’s world is the world of the surreal, inhabited by characters who are entirely his own and were evolved from his observation of life on the streets and from niches in his background.

The images are laced with mordant wit, a sense of the ridiculous and an encompassing sense of the enigmatic tragedies of life.