Norman Cornish the last surviving Pitmen Painter has died aged 94. The story of the Pitmen Painters is a remarkable one and is now portrayed in the play The Pitmen Painters by Lee Hall. This play has recently been on national tour and was met with critical acclaim.
The Pitmen Painters have an important place in WEA history and we are very proud of our association with them. The group grew from a WEA course run by the WEA Ashington Branch and Durham University. Taught by painter and tutor Robert Lyons (1894-1978) the group were mainly miners from the local area and had no formal artistic training. The group and its work became celebrated in the British art world in the 1930s and 1940s. However, their story, work and philosophy has far more significance than just the sum of their art work. Theirs is a fascinating story.
Read about them in William Feaver’s book: Pitmen Painters: The Ashington Group 1934-1984
More information and images of the group’s paintings http://www.experiencewoodhorn.com/the-pitman-painters/
Hall’s play is well worth seeing if you ever have the opportunity.