Northern British Modern Art and Ceramics
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Nan Heath (1922 - 1995)

Nan Heath was born in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire and was educated at the Brown Hills High School from where she went on to Hereford Teacher Training College to gain her teaching credentials eventually teaching at Ellison Street, Wolstanton, where she stayed for 28 years, whilst living in Hanley. Her areas of interest particularly lay in art and music.

She enjoyed training school choirs which competed under the auspices of the British Federation of Music Festivals. Her choirs won first prize on two occasions.

In 1952, she was able to take a year out to study at The Bath Academy of Art where she was ale to develop her own particular artistic style.

In 1968 Nan visited the Isles of Scilly on a painting holiday where she was entranced by the clear light and colour a revisit in 1971 saw her meet her husband to be Frank Smith, Nan moved to St Marys in Jan 1972.

The Scilly Islands provided inspiration to paint flower filled watercolour landscapes and seascapes, characterised by a sensitive treatment of the effect of light and movement on the water.

Solo exhibitions were held in the Potteries in 1975 and 1977, also a shared show in 1990 shared with members of the Society of Staffordshire Artists (SSA). Other exhibitions were held at the Isles of Scilly Museum in 1977, 1980-81 and 1984. In 1992, two watercolour paintings were included in the annual Royal Academy of Art Exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London.

Sadly, Nan died at the age of 72 on the Isle of Scilly in July 1995.

Recently we were provided with a Pamphlet printed by GDS Graphic Design (Staffs) Limited Christmas 1971 in which Reginald Haggar wrote a piece about Nan Heath:

"For many years exhibitions in the Potteries and Newcastle have been graced by a series of watercolours in a distinctive style and colouring which have attracted a lot of attention and brought to the artist a considerable local reputation. The creator of these pictures who is also a painter in oils is Nan Heath, an artist of unusual sensibility and taste who is a Native of The Potteries, and has spent all of her life in the district.

Although from near her home she was daily confronted by the vast panorama of industrial undertakings with all the scenic spoilation, atmospheric pollution, and slums that go with them, he very peronal formof art has generally reflected an entirely different world - the world of nature lying near at hand in country lanes, backgardens, greenhouses and domestic interiors. She loves wayside weeds and grasses, lace antimacassars and cut grass, and in her paintings she foils her intimate delineations of the near with delicately perceived vistas of the far. Few artists could tackle, let alone succeed in painting the multi-coloured tangle of a hedgerow, the cerulean haze of a bluebell wood, or the fierce chrome of a buttercup meadow in high summer, as Nan Heath so often does.

Nan Heath has interests outside her art in religion and music which nevertheless find reflection in the repsect which she shows for her motifs and the lyrical nature of her painting. Everything Nan handles is stamped with sincerity of purpose and a love of beauty, her colour washes are firm and beautifully controlled and the drawing impecceable. They are stamped with the charm of her personality.

Because of these qualities Nan Heath has come to hold a special place in the artistic life of North Staffordshire and her removal from it to live among the flowers and scenery of the Scilly Isles will leave a gap not easily filled. Nan Heath is a member of the Society of Staffordshire Artists and the North Staffordshire Watercolour Group, and has exhibited at the Royal Institute in London and elsewhere. Her two one-man shows at the Robert John Gallery Stoke, and Newcastle Art Gallery were outstanding successes."