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July 2015


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Art and Berwick Shipyard

The Berwick Shipyard site was to be the inspiration for a number of artists the most celebrated of whom was Salford-born L.S. Lowry (1887 – 1976) who was a frequent visitor to the town from the 1930's. Lowry drew and painted a number of Berwick scenes during his visits to Berwick when he stayed at the Castle Hote including drawings depicting the Berwick yard.

Berwick-born William Fergie (1893 - 1971) was employed as a timekeeper at a shipyard on Tyneside and on his retirement was to become a professional artist working mainly in watercolours. The detail below is from a watercolour completed in the mid-60's looking towards Berwick from Dock Road, Tweedmouth. It shows vessels on the stocks and the unmistakeable shape fo the shipyard crane.

William Fergie view of Berwick
A view of Berwick by William Fergie circa 1965.
Berwick Shipyard by Charles Longbotham
A 1965 waterclour of Berwick Shipyard by Charles Longbotham RWS.

Charles Longbotham (1917 - 1999) was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Marine Artists becoming a full member of the former in 1974. After leaving school at the age of 15 he joined the Merchant Navy and saw service in the Second World War with the Royal Naval Reserve where he served as navigating officer on anti-sumarine trawlers.

As well as an accomplished artist Charles Longbotham was also a professional model-maker who built more than 700 models from his studio in Ealing. His commissions included models for the Festival of Britain, the 1957 Brussels World Fair, the rebuilding of Coventry Catheral and Addebroke's hospital. He also assisted with design work on the QE2 building models that were used in wind tunnel testing. Models of the ship were later built for Cunard and were displayed in London and New York.

In this picture, painted from Berwick Quayside in 1965, two vessels can be seen under construction. The vessel in the centre of the picture is the long line fishing vessel Pakeina that was built for Tonga.

The late Fred Stott was born in Woolmarket in 1910 and counted as one of his influences his fellow Berwicker Frank Watson Wood (1862 - 1953) who was to gain international fame as a marine artist specialising in paitings of Royal Navy vessels.

Fred ran a successful radio and television business in Marygate and was a member and regular exhibitor at Berwick Art Club. Today, Fred Stott wateclours are highly sought after and are notable for their vibrant colours. The painting below below was completed in the 1970's and shows one of the Tynecraft trawlers under construction.

Berwick Shipyard by Fred Stott
Berwick Shipyard in the 1970's by Fred Stott.

Craighall, one of the 22 Fair Isle class or Sputnik trawlers is represented in the pencil drawing (below) by Letterkenny-born marine artist and author John Baird (b.1948). A self-taught artist, John worked on coasters and his passion for ships and the sea is evident through the close attention to detail that is a characteristic of his work. Over the years John's work has featured in various exhibitions and publications.

Craighall - pencil drawing.
A pencil drawing of the 'Sputnik' trawler Craighall drawn by the artist John Baird. 
© John Baird
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