Tuesday 6 September 2022

The Great Pitman Painter Tom McGuinness Sketchbook for Auction

Tom McGuinness (1926-2006)

Mixed media; pen and ink, watercolour, felt tip


A Sketchbook comprising 62 individual pages of sketches by the artist Tom McGuinness

Size 27cm x 41cm

Provenance: Harold Wilson (former UK Prime Minster) acquired the sketchbook and two paintings from Tom McGuinness whilst attending the Durham Miners Gala and visiting the Artist’s Studio with his friend Lord Hirshfield.  After Harold Wilson's death this sketchbook was passed to Lord Hirshfield.  This sketchbook is being sold by one of Lord Hirshield's descendants.

Estimate £1,500 - £2,000

Tom McGuinness was born in Witton Park, Bishop Auckland in 1926.  At 18 he was conscripted during World War II as a Bevin Boy.  Bevin Boys were young British men conscripted to work in coal mines in order to increase the rate of coal production, which had declined through the early years of World War II.  The programme was named after Ernest Bevin, Minister of Labour and National Service in the wartime coalition government.

While working as a miner Tom studied at the Darlington School of Art and then with the Pitman's Academy at the Spennymoor Settlement.  A quiet and unassuming man, Tom McGuinness turned down opportunities to become a full time artist, continuing to work as a miner until being made redundant from East Hetton Colliery in 1983.  Tom continued painting until his death in 2006 at the age of 79.

The quality and importance of Tom McGuinness's work cannot be underestimated.  Regarded as one of the most important North East artists of his generation who spent his life capturing in art the industrial heritage of the mines and communities that sprang up around him.

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