1 February 2016

Artwork

Irene aged 86 and 3/4 by Patricia Leontieff (Bury Art Society) (2015)
In London they might have art galleries with black business cards scattered on the floor but Up North we have proper galleries with proper pictures. Real Art.

The nineteenth century saw the rapid growth and booming prosperity of Pennine textile towns like Burnley, Oldham, Bradford, Halifax and Bury. The mill owners might have exploited their workers by paying paltry wages and providing cheap slum housing but rather ironically they could also be generous  civic benefactors, investing in parks, hospitals, transport links and art galleries.

Much great art was brought to northern England towards the end of the nineteenth century to be displayed proudly for the edification of townsfolk. And despite the best efforts of the Luftwaffe, much of that fine Art remains here, invariably housed in magnificent Victorian buildings.
Bury Art Gallery
Bury Art Museum - picture from Bury Art Society website
On Saturday in Bury, I made a point of visiting the town's lovely Art Museum. One of the main rooms was devoted to a display of works by members of Bury Art Society. In the next two galleries you could see some of the legacy of the town's industrial past - pictures that were bought with profits derived from the labours of spinners, weavers, dyers and bleachers. But those pictures did not concern themselves with  the reality of working life in the valley of The River Irwell. Instead they took onlookers away to far more exotic places than  Bury. A kind of cultural escapism.

Apart from the staff and some people preparing for a drawing class, I was the Art Museum's only visitor at midday on Saturday and so I had the town's magnificent Art to myself. Here is a little more of what I saw:-
Calais Sands at Low Water: Poissards Collecting Bait
by J.M.W. Turner (1830)
The Random Shot
by Sir Edin Landseer (1848)
Moor at Prayer 
by Ludwig Deutsch (1898)

19 comments:

  1. OK, that deer picture is the saddest thing ever. (In terms of subject matter, not technical skill.) Love that painting of the moor at prayer, though. How amazing to be the sole patron at a museum! Definitely not something I ever experience here.

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    1. I don't think that my photograph of the Landseer painting does it proper justice Steve. Technically it was in fact most impressive. The way he dealt with the snow for example.

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    2. Oh, I don't doubt that. I just can't handle animals being shot! Bambi, indeed!

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  2. The portrait of Irene is rather good. I wonder what she thought of it? I imagine she is more used to the Landseer style, which of course inspired Walt Disney to make Bambi. Or is that something else I've imagined?

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    1. I beg to differ my dear Cecil. I seem to recall that the inspiration for "Bambi" was the work of a Chinaman called Tyrus Wong.

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  3. It's always a mystery to me when you end up being the only person in the gallery. You certainly made good use of that time.

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    1. Perhaps the word had got around Bury that I would be visiting the gallery Red.

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  4. I agree with Steve, the subject of the Landseer is so sad, but typical of Victorian art. The subject matter seemed to be either heart breaking (as with the Landseer) or chocolate box kitsch. I liked the picture of Irene - slightly more interesting than the usual portraits.

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    1. Of course it was Landseer who created the lions in Trafalgar Square. I am glad that you found these pictures interesting to consider CG. Coppa ia a lucky man!

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  5. Such beautiful pictures and you the only one there - I find it sad that folk have no interest in going to see such treasures.

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    1. Bury Art Museum is a lovely place. As I suggested to Red above, a warning had probably gone out in the local media that a scary Yorkist would be visiting on Saturday (i.e. Me!)

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  6. Irene looks like an old trooper

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    1. Through that picture I guess she has gained a degree of immortality.

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  7. Great stuff, there's a sense of emotional connection to each work. Really outstanding, and thanks for sharing!

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    1. I am glad you appreciated this post Blogoratti and thanks for calling by again.

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  8. Wonderful paintings...and wonderful that you were free to take the pictures without interference by anyone else.

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    1. At The Louvre in Paris getting to see The Mona Lisa is like queueing for a One Direction ticket. Definitely not like that in Bury.

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  9. In most museums and galleries (proper ones, not those who call themselves "gallery" and then offer only a million business cards on the floor), you won't find many - if any - visitors at Saturday lunch time, at least not in Germany, where Saturday mornings are traditionally spent cleaning the house, sweeping the pavement, washing the car and doing the weekly groceries shopping.
    So, it's actually the best time to visit a museum or a gallery! I love being on my own in such places. It gives me the chance to focus entirely on the work(s) of art in front of me, and I soak up the general atmosphere of the room and the whole building.

    Ludwig Deutsch made me curious and I looked him up on wikipedia. He was Austrian, not German as I had assumed.

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    1. Ludwig's painting really caught my eye. Technically brilliant and so serene. I had never heard of him before. I would bet my bottom dollar that Herman Chong (The business card guy) could never create a painting like that. By the way, Saturday mornings in Germany sound like lots of fun!

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