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Tom Gentleman was born in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire in 1892 to Annie Cowan (née McNaughtan) and William Russell Gentleman, a draper. William died unexpectedly after surgery in April 1901 while Tom was only nine. From 1905 to 1911 Tom attended evening classes at The Glasgow School of Art while working as a draper for the family business in Coatbridge. In 1911 he became a full-time student, and in 1914 he was awarded his Diploma. In the same year he also won the prestigious Haldane Travelling Scholarship, but had to postpone the trip due to the outbreak of the First World War. Since he had been a volunteer in the Queens Own Royal Glasgow Yeomanry since 1912 he was immediately mobilised for war service in August 1914, and remained in service until 1918. After demobilisation he returned to Glasgow to continue with day classes in drawing and painting at GSA. The following year he took up the Haldane scholarship and travelled in France, Italy, Corsica and Spain from 1920 to 1921. From 1921 he worked as a freelance graphic designer, exhibiting his work regularly. He also taught briefly at Coatbridge Technical School - Britain's first technical college. He moved to London in 1927/28, where he married Eugenie Winifred Murgatroyd, a fellow GSA student, and began his career in advertising. He worked as a commercial artist for several major agencies, as well as London Transport, the Ministry of Information, Shell and BP. In 1945 he wrote and illustrated an autobiographical children's book called Brae Farm. He worked as head of design at Shell Mex until his retirement in 1952. In 1947 was elected FSIA (fellow of the Society of Industrial Artists). He died in 1966. Tom Gentleman is listed on The Glasgow School of Art's World War One Roll of Honour.
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Sources: Scotland's People: http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk.