I’m now at the stage in my career where some of the early paintings of Newcastle I’ve had reproduced as prints are now historical. They have captured views that have seen dramatic changes over the years. This view of the Tyne Bridge from the Keep is a prime example. I painted the original watercolour around 1997 and it captures many elements that are either no longer there or have been transformed by re-developments.
The distant white building of Spillers Flour Mill, which has supplied Newcastle with flour since the 1930’s, has recently been demolished. At its peak in the 1970s it providing the flour for one in every 10 loaves baked in the UK with over 500 staff. Spillers supplied the baking industry for decades, including flour for Greggs and Home Pride flour, famous for Fred, their bowler-hatted mascot.
The Baltic, a home for seagulls at the time when I painted the scene, is now a contemporary art gallery and the empty space behind the iconic arch of the Tyne Bridge is now the home for the Sage, a venue for music lovers and the Newcastle/Gateshead Art Fair.
There have been two different boats berthed under the bridge since the early 1980’s, the Tuxedo Princess and Tuxedo Royale which were popular night clubs in their day. Despite all the changes, the limited edition print continues to sell. At the time of this post a customer called in to my Studio and Gallery in Ponteland to buy a copy to take out as a gift to a friend living in Australia.