Saturday, 25 August 2012

Middlesbrough's Artistic Legacy

Yesterday I met up with a group of good friends Jackie, Bev, Joy and Colleen to spend a very enjoyable day of catching up on what we have been up to since our last get together. We first met 7 years ago when we enrolled on our Textile and Surface Design degree course at Cleveland College of Art and Design and still keep in regular touch just over a year since graduating.
This time we met up at Colleen's house and, after lots of tea and chatting, we set off for a visit behind the scenes at mima. Colleen had organised with the archivist, Helen Welford, for us to take a look at their collection of paintings and ceramics that included many pieces from the old Middlesbrough Art Gallery that I fondly remember visiting in my younger days.

The Old Town Hall and St Hilda's Church
by L S Lowry 1959
Helen pulled out a painting of Middlesbrough by LS Lowry, which I had seen previously in an exhibition earlier this year at MIMA, and then allowed us to just pull out our own and browse at our leisure through the carefully, chronologically organised collections.
There were many outstanding paintings e.g. two studies of nudes in pastel by Anthony Eaton, a dramatic oil painting by one of The Glasgow Boys but my favourite by far was a modest sized oil painting, in the 1940s section, that Joy and I stumbled upon, entitled Scullerry Sink by a local Boro artist Glynn Porteous.
Scullery Sink by Glynn Porteous

Preparatory sketch
These pictures don't really do justice to this little gem of an oil painting so I recommend that you go and see for yourself.
Another favourite artist of mine is Tom McGuiness, who is one of the Pitmen Painters who were a group of working miners from the North East, and my husband and I are proud owners of a small but precious  limited edidition a lithograph of his, entitled Miners Going In Bye, which we bought in 1977.

Miners Going In Bye 1976 by Tom McGuiness

MIMA however have a magnificent oil painting entitled Early Morning Shift  as well as 3 beautiful lithographs and etchings similar to ours and the one below.
The A Team by Tom McGuiness

Early Morning Shift  1959 by Tom McGuiness. A large oil
painting purchased by Middlesbrough Art Gallery in 1964
 After the excitment of the archives we paid a visit to one of the current exhibitions Metadomestic which includes ceramics, furniture, jewellery and film. The two pieces of work that caught my imagination were Martin Arnold's Passage a l'acte which was a visual equivalent of "scratching" using images from To Kill a Mockingbird and Veronica Schubert's 800 knitted black and white film frames. I really don't know how these artists come up with such concepts.

Temenos by Anish Kapoor

Good Friends at Temenos
 After yet another cuppa we happily went off to show Bev and Joy another part of Middlesbrough's artistic legacy situated at Middlehaven Dock. Temenos by Anish Kapoor, currently in the news for having designed the sculpting Orbit Tower for the Olympic Park, is a 110m long 50m high steel structure situated between the Riverside Stadium and the Transporter Bridge. I think they were quite taken with the sculpture and the industrial landscape that it is set in.

Orbit by Anish Kapoor at the Olympic Park

To complete our trip we took the Transporter Bridge to carry us across the river in its moving cage proving, despite what Auf Wiedersehen Pet claimed, it was not sent to Arizona!

View from the moving car deck.


  1. Fabulous post Mavis!!! Love the scullery painting and an excellent photo of the transporter!

    1. Wow Claire, thank you so much for your lovely comment. We had a lovely day

  2. I'm a bit behind on my blog viewing but I feel as if I have just relived that day....great photos, musings and reminiscences.

    1. Thanks Joy. Despite a shaky start we had a really good day. Looking forward to our next one.

  3. Yes Indeed! We need to organise it.