11th August 2016

A sell-out Preview Evening on the 28th July launched Norman Cornish: Bishop’s Close Street at The Garden Rooms at Tennants in great style. After the unveiling of the exhibition, guests enjoyed a fascinating and informative lecture by renowned Mining Art Historian and friend of Norman Cornish, Robert McManners OBE. The lecture was an illuminating insight into Norman’s work, interspersed with personal recollections of conversations with the artist.

This exhibition is a unique opportunity to see Norman Cornish’s home and studio recreated alongside some of his most important paintings, many of which are for sale. In particular, the intimate family portraits from his private collection and his vivid sketchbooks have fascinated our visitors.

Talking about the exhibition, John, Normans’ son said:

” As soon as I took my first glance into the gallery space at Tennants, I knew this exhibition would be really special. I have seen many fine exhibitions of my father’s artwork over the years, but here at Tennants, the gallery space offers visitors a unique opportunity to understand Norman Cornish the artist, the working man and the family man. Through collaboration with Beamish Museum, the contents of my father’s studio and 1950’s living room are on display, triggering so many happy memories for me personally. But also I know the pictures and artefacts will offer many visitors an emotional journey into their past too. I am thrilled that my father’s artwork is receiving such an enthusiastic reception.”

A constant stream of visitors have been delighted by the exhibition, and have gone away with an insight into the life of this extraordinary artist and life in mining towns in the North East.

Visitor comments:

‘A superlative exhibition bringing back memories of a childhood in a pit village – Blackhall. We particularly like the reproduction of Cornish’s studio and living room’ JY (North Yorks)


 ‘I found this such an interesting exhibition of a time, an industry, a place and a man. I find the warmth with which he draws people very moving’ JB (Richmond)


‘His pictures convey the inimitable character and atmosphere of the North East and its people’ LG (London)

Norman Cornish books, greetings cards and reproductions are available in our Gift Shop.

The exhibition is open 7 days a week until 28th August.


Full details of the exhibition can be found here

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