George Bissill: Derbyshire’s Forgotten Pitman Painter.
Exhibition: From Pits to Paris
A new exhibition of the artwork of George Bissill (1896 – 1973), Derbyshire’s forgotten pitman painter, is on display in the Lally Gallery at the Erewash Museum, Ilkeston, Derbyshire from 2nd September to 19th November 2021. A prodigy of the Avant Garde Movement, his time working in the pits influenced much of his early work. Townsend (2005) acknowledged Bissill as being one of Britain’s most important mining artists.
In 1915, he joined the Army being stationed on the Western Front as a Sapper. This position made use of his mining skills in the trenches. He was invalided out of the Army in 1918 after being buried and badly gassed. He returned to the pits but left a year later on medical grounds.
It was here he met Arnold Haskell, a ballet writer and critic, who took him to Paris. The Paris experience helped expand his style and subject matter. In 1926, Bissill experimented with woodcuts, a style of artwork with which he found great satisfaction. His first series of woodcuts were based on coalmining subjects, some of which were brought by South Kensington Museum.
Posted by MuBu Miner
14th September 2021
Civilisation Stories: The Art of Mining, BBC, Whitehead Media, (2018).
From the Pit to the Palette: George Bissill https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0654rkg
McManners, R. and Wale, G. Shafts of Light: Mining Art in the Great Northern Coalfield, (2016).
Pattinson, K. George Bissill: Life and Art, (2019).
Townsend, I, D. Coal Faces, Mining Lives: Portraits of an Industry and its people, (2005).