Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Smith's Prison Painting Will Go to Highest Bidder; Disgraced Former City Council Leader's Art Up for Auction

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Smith's Prison Painting Will Go to Highest Bidder; Disgraced Former City Council Leader's Art Up for Auction

Article excerpt

Byline: ALASTAIR CRAIG

ARTWORK by the man who helped make modern-day Newcastle will go under the hammer. Miner's son T Dan Smith rose to be leader of the city council in the 1960s, sparking radical changes.

He described a vision of creating "the Milan or Venice of the North" by launching radical building projects.

His designs include the current Cruddas Park tower blocks and Swan House roundabout.

But Smith was to fall from grace over corruption charges and was jailed in 1974, serving three years in Leyhill Open Prison in Gloucestershire.

Smith, originally a painter and decorator by trade, took up art and amateur dramatics during his time inside.

And now one of his prison paintings, showing a river scene with three cabin cruisers, has emerged and will be sold by Newcastle auctioneers Anderson & Garland tomorrow.

"The oil work, initialed and dated 1976, has been put up for sale by a woman living in Northumberland who wishes to remain anonymous but whose husband knew Smith. She accompanied her husband on a Ithem asked choose visit to Smith's Newcastle home shortly after his release from jail.

the scene She said: "There were around 20 paintings on the wall of his flat which he had done while in prison.

my "I was admiring them and he asked me to choose one. The river scene took my eye and I chose that, and I have had it all these years.

"I suppose painting was an occupational thing for T Dan Smith when he was in prison. When we visited him he was very jovial and very pleasant."

John Anderson, of Anderson & Garland, remembers as a boy standing near Smith when he unveiled a modern art sculpture at Cruddas Park. T Dan Smith had a lot of time to reflect in prison and he took up painting and amateur dramatics," he said.

"He was certainly an interesting character and has become part of North East history and folklore. …

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