News, 1.10.23.

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Calder Open, 2023.

I’m really delighted to have had three paintings selected for the Calder Open Exhibition at one of my favourite local galleries, The Smith Art Gallery, Brighouse. The theme of the exhibition is, ‘Calder’. The three paintings selected are “The Monarch of the M62”, “The Mill Gates” and “Calder”.

The Monarch of the M62

The Monarch of the M62

“The Monarch of the M62” is the view under the M62 bridge close to Brighouse. I have run under this bridge many times, and every time I did I thought what a great subject for a painting it would make. When I went to make a plein air study I chatted with a guy who lives very close by in the lock-keeper’s cottage. He told me how one day he saw two deer crossing the river close to the weir, around 100m from the bridge. I thought, what a great sight that must have been.

The Mill Gates

The Mill Gates

“The Mill Gates” is based on a view of New Mill in Marsden. It is one of a pair of paintings I did of this amazing building. My dad used to work in a mill, and sometimes I used to go and meet him when his shift finished, then walk home with him. These gates remind me of those days. Once a hive of activity, employing hundreds if not thousands of people, this mill has stood empty for many years. I contacted the owners to see if it might be possible to go inside the buildings, but I was told that this was impossible. I hope that one day someone will take it on and do something special with it.



This painting features an industrial building on the banks of the river Calder in Ravensthorpe, again, a view seen many times in the past whilst running along the footpath by the river. I love the trees in early spring when some are just starting to get new leaves, and the sureness of the two Canada geese in the full-flowing river which I have to admit to finding rather threatening, and undoubtedly dangerous, to us mere mortals.

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News, 30.9.23.

Yesterday we went to our second exhibition preview in two days! This time we went to The Williamson Museum and Art Gallery in Birkenhead, Merseyside, for the opening of this year’s New Light Prize Exhibition.

Established in 2010, New Light celebrates and promotes the best of Northern art, supporting both well-known and emerging artists by offering some of the region’s best awards and opportunities with the biennial New Light Prize Exhibition. The exhibition serves to confirm a deep belief that the visual arts matter and the North of England deserves to be celebrated.

This is the fourth time I have shown in this exhibition, and I’m both delighted and proud to have been selected again. This year I had two paintings selected:-

A quiet morning on Commercial Street.

A quiet morning on Commercial Street.

Into the valley

Into the valley.

Both of the selected paintings are based in my hometown, Batley.

The first, “A quiet morning on Commercial Street” features the row of shops in Upper Commercial Street which I am almost old enough to have witnessed being built! Many of the shops have changed hands over the years, and I have many unreliable memories linked to them.

“Skin & Tonic” on the far right was throughout my childhood a bike shop where brake blocks and puncture repair kits were common purchases.

The left-hand side of the Post Office was a great café run by an Italian guy who had perhaps the first expresso coffee machine I ever saw. The coffee tasted extraordinary, especially when served in glass cups. We would go there in our lunchbreak from school. We (thought we) were cool!

Next to the café was a sports shop/chiropodists run by Norman Hodge.

In my mind, Charnock’s Bakery and Whitehead’s Barber Shop have been there forever. I still go to Whitehead’s for my haircut. In my case, the name is entirely appropriate!

The second painting, “Into the valley”, is based on an old, semi-derelict mill building close to the Fox’s Biscuits Factory. I have painted many buildings similar in character to this one, and find their patina of age irresistible. For a long time, I used to walk past this building every morning on my way to the studio. It’s like an old friend.

The exhibition is at The Williamson Museum and Art Gallery from 30th September – 22nd December 2023.  It will then tour the following galleries:-

Bankside Gallery, Southbank, London: 27th February – 3rd March 2024.

Rheged Arts Centre, Penrith: 14th March – 2nd June 2024.

The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle: 22nd June – mid-September 2024.

The Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate: 12th October – 21st December 2024.

It’s well worth a visit, so go if you can.

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News, 29.9.23.

The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize Exhibition.

The sorrow of dereliction versus the hope of renovation.

The sorrow of dereliction versus the hope of renovation.

Yesterday, Jackie and I were delighted to return to London for my first preview in the Capital since the first lockdown in 2020. It has been the strangest few years, so it’s good to returning to something like ‘normal’. This time I’m showing a new drawing, ‘The sorrow of dereliction versus the hope of renovation’, in the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize Exhibition. Here is the statement I wrote about this drawing for the exhibition catalogue:-

My drawing, “The sorrow of dereliction versus the hope of renovation”, is a celebration of the old public library and swimming baths building in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, which is close to my studio. Completed in 1886, this Grade 2 listed building has many impressive architectural details, including a stone carved panel above the door which declares it a “FREE LIBRARY”.  It has been vacant since 1996, and there are no signs of any intention of renovation. Indeed, vandals have already made a start on its demolition. Well-proportioned, it has a marvellous patina of age, which gets progressively more beautiful as time marches on. Part of me wishes that it could be left to age and decay until it falls down, though I realize the folly of this idea. I really hope that sometime soon someone will grant it a new lease of life when it will be rescued, restored and put to good use. My fear is that it will be allowed to deteriorate until it becomes hazardous, at which point, no doubt, it will be condemned, demolished and lost forever. This in a land where property is king, and where politicians declare their passion for education, education, education!

The exhibition runs in London from Friday 29 September – Sunday 15 October 2023 at The Buoy Store, Trinity Buoy Wharf, London E14 0JY. This will be followed by an exhibition tour with venues to be announced shortly. If you’re in London please visit and let me know what you think.

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Tony Noble, October 2023.

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