Theodore Major was born in Wigan, Lancashire, the son of cotton mill workers. He gained an art education by dint of sheer determination. By the time he was middle-aged, his outstanding ability had been recognised by the Arts Council and critics of the calibre of John Berger and Mervyn Levy.
The vivid colours and rhythmic design of his nudes, flower pieces and landscapes now received wide acclaim. But despite a growing reputation, Major lived as a recluse in a cottage near Wigan, painting into his late eighties and rarely agreeing to sell his work.