THE BURSLEM BOYS
Saturday 20th October 2012 until Saturday 27th October 2012
Barewall Studio, 2-4 Market Place, Burslem, Stoke on Trent ST6 4AT.
The Burslem School of Art, a fundamental training ground in the 1940’s for artists and designers for the ceramic industry brought three young men together; Arthur Berry, John Shelton and Norman Cope. Three promising artists who would each leave their blue print on 20th century art in North Staffordshire.
‘The Burslem Boys’ exhibition will be the first time that the three friends have exhibited together and will include previously unseen original artwork. Press clippings, letters and video will also be used to help to illustrate the story of the friendship of three young men who bonded in their mutual admiration for each other and their determination to perfect their own style and identity.
Following their training at The Burslem School of Art they each went their own way to further their training in their vocation:
Arthur Berry, went on to the Royal College of Art in London meeting Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde and socialising as any young man full of excitement and enthusiasm. Alongside a teaching career and later becoming the Principal Lecturer in Painting at the North Staffordshire Polytechnic, Arthur was a published author and playwright and his paintings capturing the faces, characters and landscapes of ‘the vanishing landscape’ of North Staffordshire have become highly collectable.View Arthur Berry original artwork available at Barewall
John Shelton, went on to the Slade School of Fine Art in London. Joining Arthur Berry on the social scene of London and taking great inspiration from the two Roberts John enjoyed life and enjoyed experimenting new techniques in his art. A prolific pottery-maker too John was later noted as ‘one of the richly endowed bunch of students who have gone on to enrich the tradition of oil and water colour painting’ by Reginald Haggar. John painted and taught for many years with numerous exhibitions and collectors nationwide.
Norman Cope, considered the star of the class this promising talent went to the Edinburgh College of Art after achieving an Andrew Grant scholarship. A focused young man, opposed to the violence of the war saw expressionist oil paintings and drawings that were very unique and evocative.
A Tragic Reunion
Arthur, John and Norman reunited at The Burslem School of Art on December 16th 1943 for a Christmas Ball at the nearby George Hotel.
Little did they know that this night would be tainted with tragedy. Aged only 18 years of age on the evening of 16th December 1943 Norman Cope tragically died after a fall on the stairs of The Burslem School of Art causing a fracture to the skull. His promising career and indeed his life cut cruelly short.
The Burslem Boys exhibition will include letters exchanged by the trio, talking of how the three like minded friends missed each other and eagerly awaited the reunion.
THE BURSLEM BOYS
An Exclusive viewing of work by the late Norman Cope (1925-1943), John Shelton (1923-1993) and Arthur Berry (1925-1994).
Barewall would like to thank the families of Norman Cope, John Shelton and Arthur Berry for the opportunity to share this story and for the kind loan of material that will be used as part of the exhibition. Barewall would also like to thank the principal researcher Mark Finney http://finbofinbo.wordpress.com.
To register for updates on this exhibition and for more details on exhibitions and events at Barewall please join our mailing list or call 01782 258843.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO MEETING YOU AT THE BURSLEM BOYS EXHIBITION