A popular heritage and cultural gem in Newcastle-under-Lyme is set to partially reopen to the public to celebrate the talents of a renowned artist known as the Lowry of the Potteries.
The Brampton Museum – working in collaboration with Barewall Art Gallery in Burslem – is thrilled to host an art exhibition, and a series of Covid-secure events, promoting the life, work and legacy of Arthur Berry who is widely regarded as one of North Staffordshire’s most famous artists.
“Arthur Berry: A Ragged Richness” combines an attractive display of more than 20 hand-picked paintings, including “The Bicycle Race” from 1973 which is thought to relate to a milk race in Newcastle and “See or Say Nowt”, with complementary activities in the museum’s new event space including an informative talk led by a local historian and a film showing.
It coincides with the launch of a new book, sharing the same title, by art historian and author Peter Davies which appraises Berry as one of the most unique artists in British Art with an individual style incorporating gritty industrial localism.
Arthur, who lived in Wolstanton and worked with the New Vic Theatre before he died, was especially known for capturing the culture, people and landscape of the local area. He was also a successful playwright, poet and teacher. As a teacher, he is best known for his long association with the Burslem School of Art, where he had studied, which later became the North Staffordshire Polytechnic.
The planned exhibition is the first to take place in the museum’s new gallery space, The Jim Wain Courtyard Gallery, following an 18-month redevelopment supported by National Lottery players and Newcastle-under-Lyme Civic Society. The rest of the museum is set to reopen in the spring.
Visitors can also view footage of Arthur talking about his work and buy the book and other merchandise. Admission to the art exhibition, which is scheduled to run from Saturday, 15 January to Sunday, 6 March, is free and limited free parking is available.
Councillor Jill Waring, Cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage, said: “The Brampton Museum is closed for a little longer while exciting redevelopment works are finished to attract more diverse audiences and offer more meaningful visits. However, I’m absolutely delighted that we are able to open the new gallery and event spaces for our first exhibition and linked activities, especially something of this calibre. This is a sign of things to come – we’re starting as we mean to go on.
“This is an amazing opportunity to shine the spotlight on a well-known, local artist – whose work is often compared to LS Lowry because of its subject matter and style – and raise awareness of him as a great in the British art scene. This is going to be really popular, both with residents and visitors from outside of the borough.”
Barewall Art Gallery works with Arthur Berry’s estate and approached the Council about the possibility of an exhibition.
Amanda Bromley, from Barewall Art Gallery, added: “It’s a great honour to work with the Council as they prepare to host the first exhibition in the lovely, new gallery space at the Brampton Museum. As Arthur Berry lived in Wolstanton at the end of his life, it’s a wonderful homecoming for him.”
More information is available at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/brampton-museum
The art exhibition is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and on Sundays from
2.30pm to 5pm.