|The Rise and Rise of a Pitman Painter|
I thought you might enjoy it:
In 1963 eminent painter Gabriel Marchant recalls his beginnings as a painter in the dark days of the 1930s and pays tribute the man – the Magician – who made it possible.
In 1935, haunted by a dream he once had underground, 19 year old Gabriel, an unemployed miner, finds help and support for his lifelong desire to paint.at the local Settlement. Visiting German artist Rosel von Stielenberg nurtures the extraordinary talent of this young man whose experience in the mine has left him obsessed to express in paint darkness and light and the power of colour,.
Gabriel is persuaded by the charismatic director Archie Todhunter to help with a Settlement play which will be performed before the Prince of Wales. In the play Gabriel plays opposite clever, plain, schoolgirl Greta who sees him as her doorway to maturity.
But Gabriel is obsessed with painting and he finds the dark face of his dream in Marguerite Molloy, who is the model for the controversial painting which will make his national reputation and disturb the community in which he lives.
As the day of the performance looms, the lives of these women and the choices Gabriel makes are played out against the long shadow of the First World War with, if they knew it, the clarion calls of the Second World War echoing in their ears.
Note: Although my characters here are invented, in the 1930s and 40s the Spennymoor Settlement, under its charismatic leader, did indeed nurture the talents of young men who gained national respect for their art, including painters
Tom McGuinness and Norman Cornish, and writer Sid Chaplin. WR