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Noel Brannan Retrospective

Current Exhibition

A celebration of the work of local artist Noel Rowston Brannan who sadly passed away in 2001.

Noel studied at the Lincoln and Leicester Schools of Art and taught art in schools and colleges across Leicestershire in the period 1952 - 1980.

Atkins Building partnered with the artist's family to produce the retrospective and introduce the works of Noel Brannan to a new audience in Atkins Gallery from 11 October to 12 November 2021 by exploring the places he painted and the experiences he had there.

This Retrospective exhibition has been made possible with support from the artist’s family and friends, Hinckley and District Museum, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Leicestershire County Council, Goldmark Gallery and Auction Plus.

Featured Artworks
A photo of 'Noel at his easel in 1952' by .Loaned by Noel's family

Noel at his easel in 1952

By .Loaned by Noel's family Medium: Photograph

Noel Rowston Brannan 1921-2001 was a prolific artist who painted and sketched all his life. Noel was an accomplished art teacher and a resident in Hinckley and the surrounding area for over thirty years.

A photo of 'Noel Brannan & family' by .Loaned by Noel's family

Noel Brannan & family

By .Loaned by Noel's family Medium: Photograph Noel (centre) his brother Peter (left) and his father Edward (right)

2021 marks twenty years since Noel died so the retrospective exhibition was arranged to mark the occasion.
The exhibition aims to re-introduce the works of Noel Brannan to a new audience by exploring the places he painted and the experiences he had there.

A photo of 'Wasteland' by .Loaned by Hinckley & District Museum

Wasteland

By .Loaned by Hinckley & District Museum Medium: Acrylic

Noel painted many scenes and landscapes across Leicestershire during his time living and working in the county

A photo of 'Westfield High School Staff Photo 1961,' by .Loaned by Noel's family

Westfield High School Staff Photo 1961,

By .Loaned by Noel's family Medium: Photograph Noel - bottom row second from right

Noel and his family moved to Hinckley in 1952 after Noel accepted a post at Westfield Boys School teaching art and design now known as Westfield Junior School.

A photo of 'Athelstan House, Burbage.' by Atkins Gallery Volunteer

Athelstan House, Burbage.

By Atkins Gallery Volunteer Medium: Photograph

Between 1952 and 1959 the family progressed from rented furnished rooms, a Council House, to finally owning their own house in Burbage. Athelstan House still stands today on Hinckley Road, Burbage and it has a Burbage Heritage Group blue plaque honouring Noel and his contributions to the local community.

A photo of 'Aviary Cafe, A5' by .Loaned by Mrs. M Fitch

Aviary Cafe, A5

By .Loaned by Mrs. M Fitch Medium: Oil
A photo of 'Cross Keys pub, Burbage' by .Loaned by Peter Brannan

Cross Keys pub, Burbage

By .Loaned by Peter Brannan Medium: Watercolour
A photo of 'Leicestershire artworks in the Exhibition ' by Atkins Gallery

Leicestershire artworks in the Exhibition

By Atkins Gallery Medium: Photograph
A photo of 'Bradbury's Factory, Earl Shilton' by .Painting loaned by Goldmark Gallery and Sketch loaned by Jane Kennedy

Bradbury's Factory, Earl Shilton

By .Painting loaned by Goldmark Gallery and Sketch loaned by Jane Kennedy
A photo of 'Rear of St Catherine's Church, Burbage' by . Loaned by Geoff Whitworth

Rear of St Catherine's Church, Burbage

By . Loaned by Geoff Whitworth Medium: Oil
A photo of 'Leicestershire artworks in the Exhibition' by Isabel Collins- Atkins Gallery Volunteer

Leicestershire artworks in the Exhibition

By Isabel Collins- Atkins Gallery Volunteer Medium: Photograph
A photo of 'Self portrait of Noel painted in 1947' by . Loaned by Goldmark Gallery

Self portrait of Noel painted in 1947

By . Loaned by Goldmark Gallery

Lincolnshire played a prominent part in Noel’s life as an artist, and he returns to the county several times over his lifetime.
His school years were spent in Cleethorpes in a very art orientated home with his mother, father and brother. Noel’s father Edward was also an artist and often fellow artists visited the family home. Noel wrote of his of father
‘I would return home from school to find my father busy in his studio, he had a following of disciples whom he encouraged and helped, including two of my school friends who were studying art for their school certificate.”

A photo of 'Stabled horses, Cleethorpes' by . Loaned by Goldmark Gallery

Stabled horses, Cleethorpes

By . Loaned by Goldmark Gallery

When war broke out in 1939 Noel left school to take up a post with the Admiralty office providing infrastructure support to the Royal Navy in Peterborough but was soon transferred back to Lincolnshire.
Noel worked during the day and attended the Lincoln School of Art in the evenings. He went home on weekends to Cleethorpes to visit his family. The weekends were spent painting and creating pottery with his father and his brother Peter using their home made kiln. Noel sold two paintings in a professional capacity during this time, one was sold to the Usher Gallery, Lincoln and the other whilst on display at the Royal Academy

A photo of 'Windy Day, Skegness' by . Loaned by Goldmark Gallery

Windy Day, Skegness

By . Loaned by Goldmark Gallery Medium: Oil

Noel’s job with the Admiralty took him away from Lincolnshire in 1945 but he returned in 1947 to study full time for five years at the Lincoln School of Art for a National Diploma in Design and Art Teaching.

Noel completed his qualifications in 1952 and was offered a job teaching art in Hinckley at Westfield Boys School, now known as Westfield Junior School.

A photo of 'Gasworks from Hungerford Road, Bath' by . Loaned by Goldmark Gallery

Gasworks from Hungerford Road, Bath

By . Loaned by Goldmark Gallery Medium: Watercolour

In 1945 Noel moved to Bath with his job with the Admiralty, where he worked in the offices providing infrastructure support to the Royal Navy.

A photo of 'Bar Fight, Bath ' by . Loaned by Goldmark Gallery

Bar Fight, Bath

By . Loaned by Goldmark Gallery

Noel took advantage of the different scenes and landscapes Bath provided Noel painted and sketched all round Bath and the surrounding countryside with his wife Mavis.

A photo of 'Bath artworks in exhibition' by Isabel Collins- Atkins Gallery Volunteer

Bath artworks in exhibition

By Isabel Collins- Atkins Gallery Volunteer Medium: Photograph
A photo of 'Blackpool Tower entrance' by . Loaned by Goldmark Gallery

Blackpool Tower entrance

By . Loaned by Goldmark Gallery Medium: Pen and Wash

Noel and his wife Mavis moved to Blackpool for a short time in 1947 while he considered a career move from the Admiralty to the Ministry of National Insurance.

A photo of 'The Palace, Blackpool' by . Loaned by Goldmark Gallery

The Palace, Blackpool

By . Loaned by Goldmark Gallery Medium: Pen and wash

It was here in Blackpool that Noel decided on a total career change and applied to Lincoln School of Art. His application was successful and he was awarded a grant towards a five year National Diploma in Teaching Art and Design. Noel resigned from Civil Service and became a full time student at the Lincoln School of Art.

A photo of 'Warwickshire artworks from the exhibition' by .Loaned by Auction Plus and Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council

Warwickshire artworks from the exhibition

By .Loaned by Auction Plus and Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council Medium: Oil and gauche pieces

As an art teacher in Leicestershire Noel found he was too well known to set up his easel outdoors in Hinckley and Burbage but that all changed once he had access to a car.
The town of Nuneaton and surrounding areas became his favourite sketching ground with its mines, tile works, chimneys, quarries, canal and areas of wasteland. His piece Coalmine at Nuneaton was selected to be part of the New English Art Club annual exhibition in 1966 and then toured the UK in a travelling exhibition

A photo of 'Industrial artworks in Exhibition' by Atkins Gallery

Industrial artworks in Exhibition

By Atkins Gallery Medium: Photograph

The industrial landscape was a strong theme throughout Noel’s art career, and he painted many industrial scenes across the UK from the Gas Works in Bath to factories, rail yards and collieries across the Midlands.
‘I find that I am not interested in landscape in itself. A line to follow might be landscape centred upon some brightly coloured piece of machinery, rather than a tree, farm building or church.’

A photo of 'Nailstone Colliery' by Loaned by Leicestershire County Council

Nailstone Colliery

By Loaned by Leicestershire County Council Medium: Oil

Noel was granted special permissions to access industrial sites to sketch and paint the scene on many occasions including sites at Edinburgh, Stoney Stanton and Nailstone. At Nailstone Noel produced a large series of sketches and oil paintings of then disused colliery.

A photo of 'Bagworth colliery ' by . Loaned by Richard Kennedy

Bagworth colliery

By . Loaned by Richard Kennedy Medium: Oil

It was crucial to capture these places of industry as the UK was changing and manufacture was moving abroad as it became cheaper to import than produce goods here in the UK. Noel’s capture of the coal mining industry was particularly important as collieries and mines are starting to disappear from our landscapes with the use of fossil fuels declining in favour for renewable energy sources.

A photo of 'Niddry Colliery ' by . Loaned by Goldmark Gallery

Niddry Colliery

By . Loaned by Goldmark Gallery Medium: Watercolour

In 2020 GOV.UK reports that coal only represented 1.8% of the energy source used to generate electricity for the UK

A photo of 'Truck stop on the A47' by . Loaned by Auction Plus

Truck stop on the A47

By . Loaned by Auction Plus Medium: Oil
A photo of 'Quote from Noel Brannan in Exhibition' by Atkins Gallery

Quote from Noel Brannan in Exhibition

By Atkins Gallery

Goldmark Gallery and Noel's family have produced a celebration book of Noel's life and work which was available to purchase from Atkins Gallery during the exhibition and after the exhibition the books can be purchased from Goldmark Gallery directly.

  • © 2021 Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council