Friday, 10 October 2014


Here's a painting that I did many years ago.  Not so many years ago that I was living during Victorian times.  Thankfully.  Because if I had been, I surely would have been lucky to survive.

I painted a lot of Victorian street scenes during the seventies and early eighties, because they were popular, and as a result of my liking for French Impressionism, combined with my own memories of being a boy.

My mother, my sister, and I, walked together often through our town centre, which, in places was still very Victorian, even during the fifties, to church, and home again, in all weathers.  I wasn't aware at the time I painted many of these scenes that I was actually revisiting my own childhood.  

I grew up in an industrial market town in the midlands during the fifties, and sixties, where full employment, mostly provided by the thriving carpet industry, meant that our standard of living was pretty good.  Raw fleeces came into the town, and beautifully woven carpets left.  And we had the newly established National Health Service.

Many people were employed in noisy, dirty conditions, not only in the carpet industry, but in associated work, and they worked fairly long, and often, unsociable, hours, when the looms, and the presses at the forge, worked round the clock.  But compared to the conditions that similar workers had tolerated during Victoria's reign, it was bliss.  At least people could feed, clothe and house their families, on the wages, and the fear of abject poverty, and fear of having to enter the dreaded workhouse wasn't an ever present black cloud hovering over The Stour Valley, where the town was situated.

We must never look back on that Victorian era without acknowledging the fact that most ordinary working class people had it bad.

My paintings didn't convey the poverty and the suffering of many ordinary individuals who endured life during Victorian days,  but I hope that they do convey a mother's love, which, during any era, is so important and so valuable.