Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Wanted - Family to Recreate a Famous Scene

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Wanted - Family to Recreate a Famous Scene

Article excerpt

Byline: David Whetstone Arts & Entertainment Editor

THIS busy scene of a Christmas family gathering in Ashington in about 1950 was captured in oils by Harry Wilson, one of the town's pitmen painters.

Now, more than 60 years later, renowned photographer Julian Germain wants to recreate it as a modern photo.

But in paying tribute to a famous amateur, the renowned professional first needs to find an Ashington family prepared to pose.

Julian, who lives in Northumberland, explains: "'The Xmas Tree, by Harry Wilson, features a large Ashington family sitting around the breakfast table at Christmas time.

"It's a busy, festive, domestic scene - three whippets, five children, including a toddler and a baby which the mum has just been feeding or is about to feed.

"Dad is shaving and it looks like a neighbour or relative has popped in for a visit.

"I am looking for a similarly large Ashington family to participate in a modern-day reconstruction of this kind of scene."

Julian has undertaken ambitious photographic projects all over the world, such as portraying children in their classrooms (Classroom Portraits) and documenting people's passion for football (In Soccer Wonderland).

Now he is exploring the work of the Ashington Group, the amateur artists who painted local scenes in the years around the Second World War and whose achievements were made famous by Lee Hall's play The Pitmen Painters, itself inspired by a book by former Journal art critic William Feaver.

The year-long project coincides with next year's 80th anniversary of the formation of the Ashington Group.

It is one of the first projects announced as part of the Creative People and Places programme in South East Northumberland, which has been called Bait.

Set up by Arts Council England, the national programme is designed to make a lasting difference in areas where people don't usually have the chance to participate in high quality arts events. …

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