01-04-2012 - 31-03-2013
The Ashington Group (Pitmen Painters)
The main museum and galleries:
Wednesday – Sunday (plus Monday & Tuesday in school holidays and Bank Holiday Mondays)
April – September 10am – 5pm
October – March 10am – 4pm
The Northumberland Archives and Study Centre:
Wednesday - Sunday (Closed all Bank Holidays)
10am – 4pm all year
Be like Robson Green in the ITV Perspectives documentary and discover the artwork of a remarkable group of men - The Pitmen Painters.
Only at Woodhorn you can see the stunning Ashington Group Collection of work. This unique collection of more than 80 paintings was compiled by the original members of The Group themselves over many years. They felt the paintings represented the very best of their work.
The Group largely made up of coal miners (or pitmen as they are known), first came together in 1934 through the Workers Education Association to study 'something different' - art appreciation. In an effort to understand what it was all about, their tutor Robert Lyon encouraged them to learn by doing it themselves.
What they produced was fascinating and if a picture paints a thousand words, these pitmen's paintings speak more eloquently than any photograph. They captured every aspect of life in and around their mining community, above and below ground, from the scenes around the kitchen table and in the allotment to the dangerous and dirty world of the coal face.
This amazing story of The Ashington Group inspired the wonderful play by Billy Elliot writer, Lee Hall. "Pitmen Painters" has received rave reviews for sell-out performances in the North East and the National Theatre in London. In September 2010, New York audiences too were enthralled by the story when it opened on Broadway! Click here to have a look at the Manhattan Theatre Club website with photographs, reviews and interviews. This year the play, with many of the original cast, is once again on the road performing at venues across the UK before hitting the stage in the West End of London (October - February), and versions are also playing in the US and New Zealand.
Today the Ashington Group is acclaimed worldwide, yet back in the 1930s none of them would have dreamed that a few evening classes would bring them such fame and international attention.Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives