A celebrated artist has been so impressed with an exhibition at South Shields Museum & Art Gallery that he’s donated an original oil painting to help raise funds.
More than 20 of Bob Olley’s works feature in the King Coal: the life & legacy of South Tyneside’s coal mining communities exhibition, among other items, which has proved a popular draw at the gallery.
Now Bob has donated his painting The Hewer (001), which has never been on display before, to the Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums Development Trust to raise funds for the site via a raffle.
Like much of his work, the painting was inspired by Bob’s mining career at Whitburn Colliery, which closed 50 years ago this year.
Bob, who was one of the men who worked on the last shift at the colliery, said: “Every Saturday morning as a child I attended the ABC minor’s club matinee at the Savoy cinema in Ocean Road, followed by a visit to the museum where I spent many happy hours, mesmerised by the collection of artefacts from around the world and the pride of stuffed lions staring from their glass case.
“In 1972 the gallery was the venue for my first exhibition. I have so many happy memories of my visits to a great South Tyneside asset.”
Raffle tickets cost £2.50 each and can be bought online www.southshieldsmuseum.org.uk or in person at the museum shop from July 18.
The winner of the painting will be drawn by Bob, accompanied by museum staff, on Monday September, 10 2018.
Geoff Woodward, manager of South Shields Museum & Art Gallery, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for one lucky person to win an original artwork that captures an industry so important in the heritage of the South Tyneside area. This picture is also deeply resonant because Bob Olley is not only an accomplished artist, he was actually there in person working at the coalface.
“We are extremely grateful to Bob for his generous donation to support South Shields Museum & Art Gallery.”
The exhibition explores the coal industry’s impact on the lives of the people in coal communities, from pit accidents and family life to the physical legacy of the coal industry in the South Tyneside area today. It runs until September 29.