Visual Arts in Manchester
Artists of the Region
John Cassidy was born in County Meath in Ireland, on the 1st
of January 1860. He studied at the Manchester School of Art,
then in London and later in Paris, before returning to live
in Manchester, where he remained for the rest of his life. He
set up a studio in Plymouth Grove. In 1887 he was engaged to
give demonstrations in modelling from life at the Manchester
Jubilee Exhibition, at which he reputedly modelled more than
185 portrait busts during the six months of the Exhibition.
His work was subsequently exhibited at the Royal Academy, the
Royal Hibernian Academy, and frequently in Manchester City Art
also created two matching statues in white marble of John
Rylands and his wife Enriqueta Rylands, which stand either
end of the reading room at the John
Rylands Library in Deansgate. Also he produced portrait
statues of Sir Benjamin Dorrian and Benjamin
Brierley. Amongst many other works his Statue of Edward
VII can still be seen in Whitworth Park. Charles
Hallé and Charles Sutton are among the numerous busts
of local individuals by Cassidy to be on display in Manchester
Town Hall, as well as a plaque to Alderman Daniel McCabe.
his first figurative outdoor statue of 1908, was first exhibited
in London, was purchased by James Gresham, head a local Manchester
engineering company, who donated it to the City of Manchester
and after several suggested sites it was eventually located
on a plinth in Piccadilly Gardens. Recent redevelopment of the
Gardens has required its removal - it is intended to relocate
the statue eventually in St Peter's Square, subject to planning
public sculpture can be found at various places around Manchester,
as well as in Bristol, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Belfast, Stourbridge
amongst other sites around Britain. He remained a bachelor for
the whole of his life and died on 19 July 1939 at his last home
Matthew Noble was born at Hackness near Scarborough, Yorkshire
on the 23rd March 1817, the son of Robert Noble, a stonemason,
and served his apprenticeship with his father. As a young man
Noble went to London to study under John Francis. He regularly
exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1845 until his death in
1876. He first came to public attention in 1856 after winning
the competition to design the prestigious Monument to the Duke
of Wellington in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester. Though not
a resident of the region, Noble did a great deal of his best
and most important work within Manchester.
eventually acquired great fame and respect as a leading portrait
sculptor, and was commissioned to make many portraits of important
figures, including Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, the Bishop
of York, Earl Feversham, and many others. His work is to be
found in museums and other locations in London, Bradford, York,
Manchester, as well as work in India.
London commissions include Sir Robert
Peel and the Earl of Derby in Parliament Square, statues
at the Royal Academy and monuments in St Paul's Cathedral and
Westminster Abbey. He also produced many notable church monuments,
including some in York Minster. He was responsible for the Queen
Victoria and Prince Consort statues, both in Salford's Peel
Park and in Leeds, as well as the statue of Prince Albert facing
Manchester Town Hall in Albert Square. He also produced several
monuments to Sir Robert Peel, in Salford, Liverpool and Tamworth,
as well as the celebrated statue of Oliver Cromwell in Wythenshawe,
(formerly facing Manchester Cathedral), and monuments to Richard
Cobden and Joseph Brotherton in Salford.
a lifetime in poor health, Matthew Noble died in 1876, aged
56, with many of his works unfinished - most were completed
by his assistant, J Edwards. A monument to him can be found
in St Peter's Church in his hometown, Hackess.
Walter Crane was born on 15 August 1845 in Liverpool, the son
of Thomas Crane, was a successful local artist. While Walter
was still a young man, the family moved to live in London where
he was apprenticed to an engraver.
Crane became an important and major influence in late-Victorian
art and design in Britain, and was appointed Director of Design
at the Manchester Municipal School of Art from 1893-1896 - he
was instrumental in the establishment of the Art & Crafts
Exhibition Society in 1888, and was their first President.
he exhibited paintings at the Royal Academy (his "The
Lady of Shalott" in 1862, for example), he was predominantly
an illustrator and designer. By the 1870s he was an established
children's book illustrator, a designer for Wedgwood, and a
leading wallpaper and tile designer.
In the 1860s Crane began to take an active interest in politics
and was a supporter of the Liberal Party and some of their more
radical politicians such as John
Bright and William Gladstone and campaigned for the 1867
Reform Act. Crane gradually developed socialistic views, and
became friends with William Morris. Both men deplored the effects
of modern manufacturing and the commercial system of craftsmanship
and design. Deeply influenced by Morris's pamphlet "Art
& Socialism", Crane gradually became involved in
both the Art Workers' Guild and the Arts & Crafts Society.
Although a confirmed Marxist, Crane hoped that Socialism would
be achieved through education rather than revolution.
the first President of the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society
he was a leading light in the revival of arts and crafts of
the period, along with other major designers including William
Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, Philip Webb and Onslow Ford.
was also Principal of the Royal College of Art from 1897-8,
and wrote many influential books on decoration and design, including
"The Decorative Illustration of Books" in 1896
and "Line and Form" in 1900.
Walter Crane is best remembered today as one of the most important
Victorian and Edwardian children's book illustrators, whose
books are now highly collectable.
Frank Hampson was born on the 21st December 1918 in Audenshaw,
and was to become a leading light in popular science fiction
illustration, notably with his best known creation, Dan Dare
("Pilot of the Future!") for The Eagle Comic
in the 1950s. His original artwork and imaginative storylines,
represented in full colour, (then a revolutionary concept) sold
around a million copies a week, the most successful ever comic
in the UK. Dan Dare was to become one of the greatest English
comic strip icons of all time.
family moved to live in Southport where from the age of 11 he
was educated at King George V Grammar School. He left school
at 14 to become a telegraph boy with the Post Office. During
the war he served in the Royal Army Service Corps and was a
Dunkirk evacuee in 1940.
1944 Frank married Dorothy Mabel Jackson and set up the family
home in Southport. In 1947 he enrolled on an Illustration Course
at Southport School of Arts & Crafts, where he was described
as "an outstanding draughtsman". Later he set up a
screen-printing business with fellow student Harold Johns.
His professional career as an artist began working on the 'Anvil',
published as a monthly national Christian magazine.
it was the launch of the Eagle on 14th April 1950 that
his big break came and the immediate success of this new large
format, full colour glossy magazine caught a wide public attention
and Dan Dare became its front page characterisation. So complex
and time consuming were the drawings required that he had to
bring in several other artists to assist; these included Bruce
Cornwell, Terry Maloney and Eric Eden, and later others including
Harold Johns and Jocelyn Thomas, colleagues from his days at
they worked in a converted Southport bakery before moving to
Epsom in August 1950, and to a purpose-built studio complex
in Bayford Lodge in 1954. In every aspect of his artwork Frank
was a meticulous perfectionist, who spent hours creating scenarios
for Dan Dare, regularly working 20 hour days to meet pressing
1975, Hampson was awarded the Yellow Kid Life Achievement Award
at the Italian Lucca Comics Convention, and was declared 'prestigious
maestro' as best writer and illustrator of strip cartoons since
World War II. The following year he was presented with a special
Ally Sloper award by the British Association of Comics Enthusiasts
to commemorate his major contribution to the art of cartoon
Hampson died on the 8th July 1985 at Epsom Cottage Hospital.
A blue plaque is located at his birthplace at 488 Audenshaw
Road, Audenshaw in Tameside and was unveiled on 2nd November
2001 by his son Peter.
Born in 1912, Francis Lennon has affectionately been called
'The People's Artist'. In 2004 Frances was included in the New
years Honours List and awarded an MBE for her contribution to
the arts in Manchester. Her unique and original artwork, very
much in the L S Lowry school, has been extensively used as patterns
for cross-stitch and embroidery. Titles such as "Our
Rainy Manchester", "Back Street Kids", "The
Bowling Green" and "One Too Many"
exemplify the charm and nostalgia of bygone days in Manchester.
James Lamb was the leading Manchester cabinetmaker of his day
and founded a large cabinet-making and upholstery workshop in
the city, initially in John Dalton Street, and then in a large
factory building in Castlefield.
This factory has recently been completely restored and refurbished
and is resurrected as industrial and commercial premises.
led the way in local wood craftsmanship in the north of England
from 1850-1885; his company exhibited work at the London Universal
Exhibition in 1862, and in Paris in 1867 and 1878, winning several
important figure in the so-called Aesthetic Movement, (a precursor
of the English Arts & Crafts Movement), Lamb worked in association
with several leading designers of the time, including Alfred
Waterhouse and Charles Bevan and is said to have been "
most aesthetically advanced cabinetmaker outside London in the
made furniture to Waterhouse's designs for the Manchester Assize
Courts, which were shown at the Paris Exposition, and exhibited
furniture at the 1887 Manchester Jubilee Exhibition.
Lamb died in 1903 and is buried in St Mary's Parish Church in
Prestwich. His company was taken over by Goodall, Lamb &
Heighway in 1899.
Ralph Sweeney was born in Manchester in 1956 and attended the
local Grammar school where he developed his interest in art.
self taught he soon found himself busy fulfilling commissions
for local businessman and several of his works have recently
been sold to national companies based in Manchester. In 1994
Ralph Sweeney turned professional and twelve months later with
the help of his family formed his own publishing company to
help market his work.
paintings have featured in national newspapers and have also
been used to raise money for a variety of charities. Although
Ralph Sweeney can paint using most mediums he specialises in
pastel, particularly nostalgic scenes. He has produced several
portraits of local Manchester footballers including George Best,
Sir Alex Ferguson and Eric Cantona, a series of ballerinas and
ballet dancers and local urban scenes around the region. Recently
some of his work has been reproduced as limited edition fine
Tom Bloxham was born on the 20th December 1963 in Fleet, Lincolnshire,
and is an award winning property developer, founder of the pioneering
urban renewal property development company Urban Splash and
member of the judging panel for RIBA's Sterling Award. Bloxham
has appeared on Britain's rich list and has a property portfolio
worth over £200million.
He started out selling fire extinguishers door to door, then,
while at Manchester University studying politics and history,
he began selling old records and posters from market stalls.
He established and subsequently sold the Baa Bar chain as well
as a local radio station. He began subletting portions of his
unit at Afflecks Palace and this set off his career in property.
Bloxham founded Urban Splash who initially converted redundant
properties, mainly formerly industrial buildings, in the north
west England into affordable city centre residential loft apartments.
They have won in excess of 100 awards for design, architecture
and urban renewal.
He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects
(RIBA) and in 1999, he was given an MBE for services to architecture
and urban regeneration.
Tom Bloxham was elected Chancellor of The University of Manchester
in June 2008 a post held for seven years. His installation as
Chancellor took place in the University's Whitworth Hall on
3 December 2008. At the same ceremony Sir Bernard Lovell, Sir
Tim Berners-Lee, Edward Gregson and Eddie Davies received honorary
Bloxham also chairs the Manchester International Arts Festival.
In February 2009 the Board of Trustees of Tate announced that
the Prime Minister had appointed Tom Bloxham as a Tate Trustee
- an appointment for four years. He is also Chairman of the
Centre for Cities, an urban policy research unit and a Trustee
of the Manchester United Football Club Foundation.
He has many successful regeneration projects across the country
in his portfolio including ; Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham,
Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Bristol, Plymouth and Morecambe.
He lives with his family in an Urban Splash apartment in Manchester
city centre and says that he enjoys Manchester United, skiing,
drinking and living a good life.
of Brookes Family Website copyright © www.nb-kelly-louise.com
Warwick started his working life as an unskilled worker at Messrs.
John Barge and Co, a local block printing company. His apparent
flair for drawing soon saw him promoted to the designing room.
In 1832 he left the company to join John Dugdale Bros in Salford,
and in 1840 joined Messrs. Cook and Unsworth, as a block designer,
a firm which was to become The Rossendale Printing Company.
He stayed here for some 26 years until he was struck with illness,
consumption, which was to incapacitate him.
He pursued his art in his spare time and his work was exhibited
at The Mechanics Institute and also won first prizes at The
Royal Manchester Institution. In 1868 Brookes was elected a
member of The Manchester Academy Of Fine Arts, his drawings
used to illustrate books for contemporary authors. He was also
a founder member of the United Society of Manchester Artists
which met over Rose's China Shop in King Street.
The full collection of Brookes' work, mostly members of his
immediate family, is held at Manchester Art Gallery. Through
an influential aquaintance he met William Gladstone, who introduced
his work to Queen Victoria, who subsequently bought some, as
did her daughter Princess Louise. The royal collection of drawings
is now part of the collections at The Victoria & Albert
Museum, London. Thereafter, he was hailed as a celebrated artist
and in demand in society circles. During his lifetime, amongst
his artist associates were the likes of Frederick Shields, Dante
Gabrielle Rossetti and Ford Madox Brown.
Brookes passed away on 13th August 1882 at his home in Egerton
Grove, Stretford New Road. He is buried in Brooklands Cemetery
We are indebted to Peter Berry, a descendant of Warwick Brookes
for bringing this subject to our attention, and for allowing
us to draw material from his Brookes Family Website at http://brookes-of-manchester.blogspot.com/p/warwick-brookes-1808-1882.html,
for the information and image contained here.
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