Lockdown has been a productive time for Society of Staffordshire Artists member and resident of Newcastle-under-Lyme, painter Nick Moore.
Nick, who has had recent success with portrait paintings of local legend, Neil “Nello” Baldwin and The Great Pottery Throwdown presenter Keith Brymer Jones, sought a new challenge and embarked on two related projects to celebrate the life and work of Potteries artist, poet and playwright, Arthur Berry. He painted a portrait of Berry and at the same time composed a poem. Both share the same title, “My Father Speaks of Arthur.”
Berry was born in Smallthorne, Staffordshire in 1925 and trained as an artist at Burslem School of Art and in London at the Royal College of Art. It was in Stoke-on-Trent he made his home amongst the characters and places that he loved. “There’s a landscape in every backyard wall, in every brick, in every face,” he said.
He was never more at home than visiting local pubs and finding inspiration from the local folk within. His work “Lament for the Lost Pubs of Burslem” was awarded the best radio monologue of 1979.
Nick said: “It was whilst reading Berry’s autobiography, “A Three and Sevenpence Halfpenny Man”, that the inspiration came. What a remarkable man.
“Arthur’s influence on the arts locally both as a tutor and as an artist cannot be underestimated and should always be remembered. Since his passing in 1994, regular exhibitions of his work have been staged, such as at Barewall Gallery, Burslem. They’re inspirational occasions, are always well received with admirers coming from all over the UK.
“My father, artist David Moore, and other local creatives knew and admired Arthur and were only too happy to share their memories of him. These valuable insights shaped the work I then produced. My poem laments the lack of opportunity I had to meet the great man, as other artists did, but nonetheless I’m influenced by the very same Potteries’ sights and sounds as Arthur.”
“My Father Speaks of Arthur” and Nick’s other portrait paintings and prints can be purchased from Barewall Gallery, Burslem by visiting www.barewall.co.uk