I was just watching TV and saw this! My mural painting of the witch Molly Leigh who lived in Burslem and who is famous in the city of Stoke-on-Trent. The painting is based on a picture of a French peasant by Theodore Gericault. The cottage in the background is based on photos of her home.
It’s not the first time an image of one of my paintings has appeared in the media. A few months ago my painting of the Burslem riot was used in the sentinel paper, again without letting me know.
What can I do? How can I at least get recognition?
Saw this in Burslem today. On the main road from Cobridge up to Burslem.
Arthur Berry was an artist based in Stoke-on-Trent where he produced pictures of everyday figures and landscapes with a style of his own. Charcoal and pastels are used to chisel faces out of blackness, strokes of grey and white float on top of murky reds to bring out the dark shapes of buildings.
Arthur was also a writer and poet. We attended several of his plays when they were performed at the Victoria Theatre in Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent in the 1980’s. We have a copy of a couple of his books. He was a very creative artist.
In 1842 there was a Chartists riot in Burslem which is the mother town of Stoke-on-Trent. During a meeting of Chartists in the town the magistrate decided to read the riot act and the police and military shot a rioter called Josiah Heapy while they were trying to quell it.
I did this painting at least ten years ago and recently it appeared in the local press to illustrate the root. I wrote to the paper giving them retrospective permission to use it, but now it’s on other Facebook pages. When I informed one page they took it down. I don’t mind it being used but I did it and several others and would like some recognition. Some people speculated that I copied it from prints from the time. But actually I researched it. Look closely and you will see faces of customers, staff and the owners of the hotel. I used old prints to get the buildings right in the background. Things have changed since then including a victorian town hall which was built later. The police and mounted regiment are in uniforms that I had to guess. I tried getting the information but could not find it out in time.
This poor wrecked old hotel sits forlorn opposite the Burslem school of art. There is also the wedgewood institute built directly opposite the school, but that’s had work done on it to restore it.
It’s good that a few buildings are being preserved, but the old hotel is interesting with its turrets and bay windows. Is it too far gone? Possibly, the roof partly collapsed last week and the road was cordoned off by the police and fire brigade last week. Now wooden boards form a wall round it and it’s ground floor windows, which had been shops, look sad and run down.
Burslem is the mother town, the oldest of the six pottery towns. Its sad to see its magnificent architecture in such decline.
Burslem is all on a slant, I think it’s suffering a lot if subsidence due to either a fault line or mining. A lot of buildings seem to be affected by this. I wonder if anything will be done about it?
I can’t use the actual painting in this blog because I don’t have the memory on my plan. But imagine this is a mural of the Burslem Chartists riot of 1842 that I painted in the Leopard Hotel, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent in about 2007.
￼The mural includes the hotel, the original town hall in Burslem and Josiah Wedgewood House.
The painting included police and members of the Staffordshire troop taking on rioters in Burslem. The rioters were Chartists and were fighting for the rughr to vote. One of them was killed, his name was Josiah Heapy and he now has a memorial in Swan Square, Burslem.
My mural included local people from 2007 depicted as rioters. These include local historians Fred Hughes and Mervyn Edwards and the then owners of the pub, Neil Crisp and Neil Cox. Other members of the hotel staff are included. I really wish I could show it you. If I sort things out I will post photos.
I just found this sketch of International Women’s Day from about a year ago. I had a stall with art for sale at Burslem school of Art. I think this was the first time I ever drew the main gallery and I also tried to draw the banner that was on display there.
The school of art is very crooked. Burslem is old and suffers from subsidence or is undermined by coal mines. The whole of the city is built on clay and coal and the coal field under the city has caused a lot of damage over the years. Parts of the city also have geologic faults running underneath them so it’s not surprising that the buildings are affected.
There is also a volcanic plug where I live, the very base of an ancient volcano that was worn away by erosion over thousands or millions of years. The hill that is left dominates the valley of the river Trent, but the ground rises in other places too. There are coal tips (slag heaps) where the spoil from the collieries was dumped as the coal was hewn from the ground.
The wonder of Pottery and artistic design was the result of the geology in Staffordshire.