McGuinness - Tom McGuinness - Thomas (1926 - 2006)

TOM McGUINNESS - Thomas (1926 - 2006). An industrial painter in oil and watercolour. He was born at Witton Park, near Bishop Auckland and in 1944 was conscripted to the coal industry as a Bevin Boy. He was interested in drawing from his school days but had no formal training until his colliery training officer recommended him to attend college evening classes at Darlington, under Ralph Leslie Swinden R.A. trained principal art master at the towns School of Art. In 1947 he left the mines and about this time joined the Sketching Club at The Settlement, Spennymoor, where a fellow member was Norman Cornish. By 1948 he began to paint seriously, and in the following year showed his work for the first time at the Artists of the Northern Counties exhibitions at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, and the Federation of Northern Arts Societies’ exhibitions at the Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead. Whilst this led to a local demand for his work, he resumed work down the mines, and continued as a pitman until made redundant in 1983. During this period he remained a regular exhibitor of his work in exhibitions throughout Northumbria. By the early 1960’s he was also enjoying one-man exhibitions in the North of England,and in 1972 held his first such show, at the Wibley Gallery, London, to widespread critical acclaim. Other one-man shows immediately followed in London and elsewhere. His work was featured in the BBC’s Omnibus Series; in two new film productions of the National Coal Board’s ‘Mining News’, and Channel Four Series ‘Everyone a Special Type of Artist’. Many other one-man exhibitions have since been held, these include ‘Mines a McGuinness’ at the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, in 1997, to mark the publication of an exhaustive account of his life and work ‘Tom McGuinness - the art of an underground miner’. He died at Bishop Auckland in 2006. Represented: Darlington A.G.; Laing A.G. Newcastle; Middlesbrough A.G.; & elsewhere.