Jack Merriott was born in Greenwich. He was an artist, author, poster designer, illustrator and teacher,  who became particularly well known for the artworks he produced for British Railways and the General Post Office. He studied at Croydon and St Martin's Schools of Art, and began his working life as a shipping clerk in an office near London Bridge. Jack spent all his leisure time painting, and from 1930 had several works exhibited in the Royal Academy. In 1932 he married Hilda May Bridger, at Addiscombe, Surrey and by 1935 the couple were living in Shirley, on the outskirts of Croydon. During the 1930s he was a member of Croydon Art Society and had works accepted at the RI and ROI. However, in the National Register in 1939, he still described himself as head shipping clerk. It was not clear what he did during World War II but alongside his painting practice, he was an instructor in 1945-6 in the Royal Army Education Corps.

Merriott's illustrations often appeared in 'Sphere' magazine. He produced many watercolours for 'Beautiful Britain', a series of books published by Blackie. In addition to his work as a commercial artist, Merriott was active as a fine artist and became highly regarded as a teacher of watercolour painting. Vice-president of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour, and a regular contributor to the magazine 'The Artist', he travelled throughout Britain giving demonstrations of watercolour painting. He made instructional movies and hosted painting holidays in Britain and abroad. He also devised a correspondence course on watercolour painting for the Pitman College of Art. A versatile artist, his memberships included the Royal Institute of Painters in Oil Colour, the Royal Society of Marine Artists and the Pastel Society.

Merriott was official artist in Westminster Abbey for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

He was a regular visitor to Polperro from 1950, and in 1952 he found his dream home there, buying and restoring a derelict cottage on the harbour. 'Island House' was a five-storey property, where he lived for the next fourteen years. By early 1953 he had joined STISA, and became President of both the East Cornwall Society of Artists in 1956, and of Plymouth Arts Club in 1962.

In 1966 he moved to Storrington, west Sussex. At the relatively early age of 67, Jack Merriott died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident. After his death, the Jack Merriott Memorial Trust was established, enabling some excellent examples of his work to be donated to Worthing Museum and Art Gallery and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. His widow, Hilda, died in Plymouth in 2000, aged 90. They had no children.

He was one of the most successful Polperro artists, whose remarkable body of work was highly sought after during his lifetime, despite a decline in fashion for representational art.


Painting in watercolour, oils, pastel, and drawing in pen and ink

works and access

Evening in Polperro (1953); Island House, Polperro (1962); Morning in a Cornish Harbour (1962); Early Morning Sunlight, Polperro Harbour; The Watch House, Polperro; The Old Stone Pier, Polperro (1963);


Royal Academy




Drawing and Painting in Pastel by Jack Merriott (1963)

Discovering Watercolour by Jack Merriott (1971)

Tovey, David (2021) Polperro - Cornwall's Forgotten Art Centre - Volume Two - Post-1920, Wilson Books