Here to help
Newsletter Signup

The Bedlington Terrier

April 25th 2018

The Bedlington Terrier painting revealed in all its glory for North East exhibition.

Woodhorn Museum’s summer activities will be putting the famous Ashington Group of Artists at the very heart of its programme with an exciting new exhibition of work by the artists curated by Narbi Price, winner of the Contemporary British Painting Prize 2017. The majority of works included in “Pitmen Painters: Unseen” have never been on public display and many of the works have been sourced from the local community where the Pitmen Painters first formed in the 1930s. 

In advance of the exhibition opening, one particularly eye-catching work of art, The Bedlington Terrier, has returned to area to receive the special attention of art conservator and Ashington Group Trustee, Anne Bacon. Hours of delicate cleaning have removed decades dust and dirt to reveal colours as fresh and vibrant as when the paint was first applied. 

“Over many years I’ve carried out cleaning and conservation work on the Ashington Group Collection. It’s a remarkable body of work,” explained Anne. 

anne_bacon_with_the_bedlington_terrier_24_april_2018_200“This particular painting has been wonderful to work with too. The painstaking process has revealed the true colours beneath 80 years’ of accumulated grime. It was such a delight to see the grey sky transformed to blue; the shading and depth disclosed in areas that appeared to be block colour, and the finer detail unveiled once again for the viewer’s enjoyment.”

The painting featured prominently in Lee Hall’s renowned play The Pitmen Painters, where it was attributed to Jimmy Floyd. The Bedlington Terrier was actually painted by William Scott in 1936. Aged about 70 at the time, this is his only known painting. 

Scott’s painting was exhibited in the 1938 Ashington Group exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle where it was purchased for £2 by Michael Roberts and given to his wife, the writer, critic and mountaineer Janet Adam Smith.

The Bedlington Terrier was later given to its current owner, the writer and journalist John Roberts by his mother, as a present in 1970. The colourful work had hung in his bedroom as a child.

The exhibition at Woodhorn, which opens at the end of May, will be the first time that Scott’s painting has been on public display in over 40 years. Exhibition curator Narbi Price believes that this is probably the first time it has been seen in the North East in 80 years.

The North East community will have the opportunity to see The Bedlington Terrier close up and in glorious colour when “Pitmen Painters Unseen” opens at Woodhorn Museum on Saturday 26th May 2018. Paintings by founding member Oliver Kilbourn and Ashington Group members Len Robinson, Jack Harrison, Jimmy Floyd and Fred Laidler will also feature in the exhibition.  

Running alongside ‘Pitmen Painters Unseen’ will be an exhibition of new work by Narbi Price, inspired by the Ashington Group.