Norman Cornish was one of the most famous artists to emerge from the North East of England in the 20th century and became one of the most celebrated British artists of his time. His works are held in public and private collections throughout the UK and beyond.

Born in the mining town of Spennymoor, County Durham, Cornish was a magnificent chronicler of one of the most important passages in history. He recorded the social environment and industrial landscape in which he lived and worked. His paintings and drawings tell the story of hard-lived lives in a community which endured despite prejudice and adversity. Not only has he preserved a life lived by millions of people, he has given it significance and permanence that only a true artist can achieve.

Along with the artist’s family, galleries across County Durham are launching a year-long centenary focusing on Cornish. Six exhibitions will offer previously unseen works, fresh insights and a major retrospective of Cornish’s art. Work will be exhibited at The Bob Abley Gallery in Spennymoor Town Hall, the Mining Art Gallery in Bishop Auckland, The Gala Gallery Durham, Durham University’s Palace Green Library, The Greenfield Gallery Newton Aycliffe and The Bowes Museum Barnard Castle.

Main image: Boys on Fence © Norman Cornish Estate. To be shown at Norman Cornish: A Slice of Life at the Mining Art Gallery, Bishop Auckland.