Edward Burra was born in London He studied at Chelsea Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art, both in London. Burra suffered from chronic arthritis from early adolescence but he did not let it inhibit his zest for travel or for the louche pleasures of the underworld. He found oil paint too heavy for his crippled hands and from his time at the Royal College worked only in watercolour. Despite the virtual confinement to his home in Rye, Sussex, for the greater part of his life, he managed to visit Paris and the south of France, where he found inspiration in the music halls, bars and brothels. In 1923 he travelled to North America and Mexico, enjoying the jazz clubs of Harlem and the disreputable dives of Mexico in a way that appealed to his sense of subversion. During the 1930s his work became increasingly concerned with sinister juxtaposition (much learned from Mexico), and he participated in Unit One and the International Surrealist Exhibition in London in 1936. The horrors of the Spanish Civil War had a profound affect personally and artistically. After World War II, Burra's interest shifted to Still Life and later to the English country side. These he treated as disturbed idylls. Retrospectives of his work were shown at the Tate Gallery in 1973 and at the Hayward Gallery, London in 1985.