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Marr was born in Durham, England, the son of John Lynn Marr (1877–1931) and Amelia Rachel, née Thompson (1884–1971). He was educated at Shrewsbury School and Pembroke College, Cambridge. He inherited his baronetcy in 1932, on the death of his grandfather, shipbuilder Sir James Marr, 1st Baronet, though he did not use the title. He studied engineering at Cambridge University, where he graduated in 1942. During World War II he served as a technician in the Royal Air Force. His interest in painting developed during his posting to Palestine.
Marr participated in two Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, making his debut on 17 July 1954 at the British Grand Prix. Racing in his private Connaught, he finished in 13th place, but retired from his last world championship race in 1955, after a damaged brake pipe caused him to spin off. Marr competed in several non-Championship races, with his best results including winning the 1955 Cornwall MRC Formula 1 Race and finishing fourth in the 1956 New Zealand Grand Prix.
Marr is recognised primarily as a landscape artist and painter. After the war ended, Marr attended life classes at Heatherley’s Art School in Pimlico and subsequently studied under David Bomberg at what was then known as the Borough Polytechnic (now London South Bank University). He allocated the upper floor of a bookshop he had rented as an exhibition space for Bomberg’s students (who became known as the Borough Group). Following the Group’s dissolution in 1950, Marr continued to paint and to travel across Britain and the continent, and it was at this time that Marr tried his hand at motor racing. From 1948 to 1956, Marr was married to Bomberg’s stepdaughter (daughter of Lilian Holt), artist Dinora Mendelson (1924–2010).
Between 1983 and 1991, Marr lived and painted on Arran, and later moved to a home and studio in Norfolk. Artworks by Marr are held in the public collections of the British Academy, Imperial College Collection, Laing Art Gallery Newcastle upon Tyne, and Pallant House Gallery, Chichester. Marr died in Gimingham, Norfolk in May 2021 at the age of 98.
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