In the eighth instalment of Painting the North, Ant Cosgrove, the man behind The Northern Art Page on Facebook, shares striking works of art, sketches and drawings from around The North of England. As the weeks progress, Ant will bring you his image of the week from the popular social media page. This week it’s an exhibition of more than 40 works by the well-known North East painter, Norman Cornish (1919-2014), Cornish at Castlegate, at the Castlegate House Gallery in Cockermouth, Cumbria.

Ant says: “One of the most celebrated of the mining painters of both this and the last century, Norman Cornish was born in 1919 in Spennymoor, County Durham.
As with most of his generation, he began work in the pits at an early age. During this time, he was driven to paint and was accepted into the Settlement at the age of 15, later to become known as The Pitman’s Academy.

Exhibiting with his peers at the Laing Gallery, Cornish held his first exhibition in 1959 at the Stone Gallery, Newcastle, one of, if not the leading contemporary art galleries in the North. There he exhibited with LS Lowry and Sheila Fell, and in 1963 was the subject of a TV documentary by a young Melvyn Bragg about both Cornish and Fell.

In 1966, Cornish left the work of a pitman and became a full-time artist. Living in and among the mining community continued to provide him with a seemingly endless source of material from which to create his paintings. His work is a wonderful record of the life of a northern mining community, at work and at leisure, and one that is highly sought after across the UK and internationally. Sadly, Cornish died on August 1, 2014, aged 94.”

Castlegate House Galley says: “Working directly with the family of the late Norman Cornish, we are proud to be exhibiting more than 40 works, the majority of which will never before have been publicly seen. Paintings and drawings of men at work and at leisure – walking to the pit-head, heading home, sat resting and in the ‘local’ – the exhibition will showcase an array of subjects and media, from oils to watercolours, drawings and pastels, all from the home and studio of one of the UK’s most respected 20th century social chroniclers, Norman Stansfield Cornish.”

(Main image: Walking to the Pit with the Train, Norman Cornish)

Walking to the pit with train, Norman Cornish

By Ant Cosgrove, The Northern Art Page


Cornish at Castlegate will be on at Castlegate House Gallery (Cockermouth Gallery) in Cumbria until October 7, 2017. For more information, click here.