Born in 1915 on the family farm in Devon, Tom Greenshields was the grandson of the well-known Victorian painter, Edouard van Goethem, whose distinctive watercolours have been reproduced worldwide as greetings cards and more recently as colour prints. Tom Greenshields was educated at Sherborne School in Dorset and went on to study art at the Slade School of Art in London. After leaving the Slade he painted, mainly watercolours, and illustrated books, exhibiting at the Royal Academy.
During the Second World War he served as a Major in the 94th Field Regiment and latterly commanded 24 Battery. He was awarded the Military Cross in Normandy after the invasion but shortly afterwards was wounded in the legs by machine gun fire. He returned to his Battery shortly before the Allied Armies crossed the Rhine. After the war Tom Greenshields was in charge of the town of Lehrte, near Hanover in north Germany. It was here that he met his future wife, Renate, who was the daughter of the local Lutheran Pastor. In 1946 he returned to England to take on the family dairy farm. In the same year he was joined by Renate who came across as one of the first "War Brides" when she was just 18.
Tom Greenshields did not have much time for art during his 32 years farming until his eldest son, Tim, took over the farm in 1980. He lost the use of his right hand in a farming accident in 1981 but successfully transferred his skills to his left hand and devoted all his time to drawing, painting and sculpture. He has had many exhibitions and currently his sculpture is exhibited in art galleries in England, Scotland, Wales and abroad.
All Tom Greenshields' sculptures are modelled from life with working sketches and drawings, some of which have been reproduced, as signed, limited edition prints. The initial sculpture is created in clay and a mould is then made from which an exact resin marble copy is produced. This resin marble figure becomes the master copy for all subsequent moulds. The final reproductions are individually hand cast and finished in either bronze, resin bronze, resin copper or resin marble.
Tom Greenshields died in August 1994 and is survived by his wife and succeeded by five children. The youngest, Maria, is also a sculptor.