Cornish, Norman

Cornish, Norman

One of the most celebrated of the mining painters of the last century and this, 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, but was driven to paint at a similarly early age, 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, Norman Cornish held his first exhibition in 1959 at the Stone Gallery, Newcastle, one of, if not the leading contemporary art gallery 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 Norman and Sheila.

In 1966 Norman Cornish left the work of a pitman and became a full time artist. Continuing to live in and amongst 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. Norman sadly died on 1st August 2014, aged 94.

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