Wednesday 25 November 2015

Antique and Interiors Sale on 9th December 2015
starting at 10am. 

Viewing Saturday 5th December 10am-1pm, Tuesday 8th December 2pm-6pm and morning of Sale from 9am.

Boldon Auction Galleries
are delighted to present for Auction a diverse collection of prints, paintings and photographs previously included in the Bede Gallery, Jarrow collection.

A well-kept secret in Jarrow, the Bede Gallery ran for over 28 years, closing its doors in 1996 for the final time.  A former Air Raid shelter, the Bede Gallery ran by the enigmatic Vince Rea was a hive of artistic activity including exhibitions and art work from the likes of Picasso, Hundertwasser, Henri Matisse, Sir Sidney Nolan, Hockney, Degas and Don McKinley to name but a few.

Vince Rea built up relationships with artists over a long period of time and they in turn trusted him for his understanding of their art and where possible his willingness to accommodate their needs.

“Bede Shows were sometime audacious.  Occasionally they took your breath away”, David Whetstone writing in the Journal, November 1996.

Vince commented before The Last Art show in 1996 “There have never been two artists alike in nearly 30 years but I have enjoyed working with them all.  They were all one-offs”.

Vince and Willa Rea not only mounted exhibitions of Contemporary Art at The Bede Gallery, they also devoted a lot of painstaking research into projects based on Jarrow’s history; collecting photographs and printed ephemera culminating in the publication of ‘Jarrow 1860-1960 From Old Photographs’ by Vince Rea.

A Maquette of ‘The Spirit of Jarrow ’, 2001, by Graham Ibbeson (1951- ) along with a working sketch is one of the many lots to be sold.  The finished piece is a bronze sculpture erected in Jarrow’s town centre to commemorate the 1936 March.  200 local men marched the 300 miles to London in March 1936 to highlight to Parliament and people in the South their plight.  At this time unemployment was at 70%, the ship yards and engineering works were closing and they were living in “a filthy, dirty, falling down, consumptive area”.

Despite considerable public sympathy the crusade made little impact even with the support of a fiery local Jarrow MP, Ellen Wilkinson who led the crusade for work.  We are selling a portrait of Ellen Wilkinson which was included in “Jarrow Impressions of a Town” at the Bede Gallery, as was the unfired model of ‘The Spirit of Jarrow’.

Graham Ibbeson has worked as a professional sculptor since 1978 and carried out many public commissions in this time.  As well as ‘The Spirit of Jarrow’, Laurel and Hardy (Ulveston, Cumbria, 2004) and Eric Morecambe (Lancashire, 1999).

On a macabre note but nonetheless an important item of local history to come under the hammer is a life size model of the last man to be hanged and gibbeted in England.

Miner William Jobling, 30, was executed over 180 years ago and his body was tarred and encased in a metal cage, which was displayed on a gibbet at Jarrow Slake in South Tyneside for six weeks.  William Jobling was convicted at Durham Assizes of killing 71-year-old local magistrate Nicholas Fairles at the height of the 1832 miners’ strike in the Durham and Northumberland coalfields.
William Jobling was with Ralph Armstrong, who a dying Fairles identified as his killer. Ralph Armstrong escaped and was never found.

Vince Rea staged an exhibition on the Jobling case in 1972, which featured a reconstruction of the miner’s gibbeted body.
After the execution, Jobling was taken from the scaffold, his clothes were removed and his body covered in pitch. He was then riveted into an iron cage, made of flat iron bars two and a half inches wide. In a wagon, drawn by two horses, his body was taken to Jarrow Slake escorted by a troop of Hussars and two companies of infantry. The gibbet was erected near the spot where the murder was committed.

William Jobling’s body then mysteriously disappeared, one theory being that fellow pitmen took it down, held a burial service, and lowered the remains into a nearby disused pit shaft. “William Jobling was the victim of tragic circumstances at a time when efforts were being made to stamp out the unions,” said Vince.

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