Berwick Shipyard through the artist’s eye

Over the years Berwick Shipyard featured in the work of a number of artists the most celebrated of whom was Salford-born L.S. Lowry (1887 – 1976). 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 Hotel. These included a small pencil drawing of Berwick harbour featuring the shipyard. This image was reproduced in a leaflet produced by Visit Berwick for a 2014 exhibition. The drawing, in Lowry’s characteristic style, shows the considerable use of artistic licence in terms of perspective and representation of the subject. (Click link to view). The prominent position of the shipyard meant that it was often included in scenes painted from the Tweedmouth side of the river. Shipbuilding at the yard can be seen in works by Berwick-born William Fergie (1893 - 1971). Fergie was employed as a timekeeper at a shipyard on Tyneside becoming a professional artist on his retirement working mainly in watercolours. The works shown above and on the right are watercolours painted in the mid-60's looking towards Berwick from Dock Road, Tweedmouth. They show the outline of vessels on the stocks and the unmistakable shape of the shipyard crane that was to dominate the view of the quayside. 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 Cathedral and Addenbrooke'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 built for Tonga. 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 paintings 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, Today, Fred Stott waterclours are highly sought after and are notable for their vibrant colours. The painting on the right was completed in the 1970's and shows one of the Tynecraft trawlers under construction. Craighall, one of the 22 Fair Isle class or ‘Sputnik’ trawlers built at Berwick, is represented in a detailed pencil drawing 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. John is the author of The Port: A Short Illustrated History of Port Ballyraine, Letterkenny that was published in 2002. Artworks and images of vessels built in the 19th century are rare. The Beacon Museum at Whitehaven does however, have a painting of the barquentine Emily Burnyeat in its collection. The vessel was built by A.B. Gowan in 1862 and the painting is an example of what is known as ‘pierhead art’. The image can be viewed here.
A view of Berwick from the south (circa 1965) by William Fergie A 1965 watercolour  by Charles Longbothan RWS showing work underway on the fishing vessel Pakeina. A Fred Stott watercolour from the 1970s showing a Tynedraft trawler in the latter stages of construction. TOP Pencil drawing of the trawler Craighall by marine artist John Baird.

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Watercolours of the Fairmile motor yachts, Lanesra (left)and Tavit (right), that once belonged to former owner Mr. John Bett.  Artist unknown.