The Arts

Hamlet Winstanley (Painter and Engraver) 1698-1756

Born – exact date unknown
Died 18 May 1756
Aged 58

A self portrait by Hamlet Winstanley – BBC Your Paintings, Public Domain,

Winstanley was born in Warrington, Lancashire, the second son of William Winstanley, a tradesman. In 1707 he was placed under the tuition of Samuel Shaw, rector of the parish and master of the Boteler free grammar school. John Finch, rector of Winwick and brother of the Earl of Nottingham, gave him access to his collection of paintings, and enabled him to study in London at the academy of painting, founded in 1711 in Great Queen Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields. He remained in London for three years, having the personal attention of Sir Godfrey Kneller.

Winstanley returned to Warrington in 1721 with a commission to paint the portrait of Sir Edward Stanley. Its success led to his introduction to James Stanley, 10th Earl of Derby, and the earl ordered him to come and paint for him at his seat at Knowsley Hall. During the next two years he painted landscapes and portraits, including one of the earl. He was in Rome from 1723 to 1725. He spent his later years at Warrington, where he built Stanley Street, and named it after his patrons at Knowsley. He died at Warrington on 18 May 1756. His collections of copper-plates and prints are stated by Horace Walpole to have been sold by auction at Essex House on 18 March 1762.

There are sketches of Rome and studies of antique figures drawn by Winstanley. Winstanley executed portraits of the Stanleys, John Blackburne of Orford Hall, Samuel Peploe, and Jonathan Patten of Manchester. Several of his portraits were etched or engraved; that of the Earl of Derby was retouched by Gerard Van der Gucht; and the portrait of Edward Waddington, painted in 1730, was engraved in mezzotint by John Faber Junior. Some of his landscape and other subjects were at Knowsley, and Winstanley also made etchings of Sir James Thornhill’s paintings in the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

John Collier (Caricaturist) 1708-1786

Born 16 Dec 1708
Died 14 July 1786
Aged 76

By John Collier (1708–1786) – Art UK, Public Domain,

*According to the Benezit Dictionary of British Graphic Artists and Illustrators by Stephen Berry, Oxford University Press, 2012.

John Collier was an English caricaturist and satirical poet known by the pseudonym of Tim Bobbin, or Timothy Bobbin. Collier styled himself as the Lancashire Hogarth.

Born in Warrington*, Lancashire, the son of an impoverished curate, he moved to Milnrow at the age of 17 to work as a schoolmaster. Marriage and nine children meant he needed to supplement his income and he began producing illustrated satirical poetry in Lancashire dialect and a book of dialect terms. His first and most famous work, A View of the Lancashire Dialect, or, Tummus and Mary, appeared in 1746, and is the earliest significant piece of Lancashire dialect to be published.

He regularly travelled to Rochdale to sell his work in the local pubs where most of the business of Rochdale was conducted as there was no cloth hall at that time. People in the pubs would ask him to draw portraits of them and their friends and he would charge on the basis of the number of heads in the picture. The Lancashire dialect poetry collection, Human Passions Delineated, a work which he both wrote and illustrated, appeared in 1773. In it he savagely lampooned the behaviour of upper and lower classes alike. The etchings were widely reproduced, and some were printed on ceramics of the time, and a colourised reproduction of 25 of the plates was published in 1810.

He died in 1786 leaving the sum of £50 and was buried in the churchyard of Rochdale Parish Church, St. Chad’s. He wrote his own epitaph 20 minutes before he died, “Jack of all trades…left to lie i’th dark” which is inscribed upon his gravestone. He had also written a number of other humorous epitaphs for graves, a number of which can still be seen in St. Chad’s churchyard.

In 1792 Sir Walter Scott visited the grave and suggested that a public subscription be raised to refurbish it. One thousand people donated a £1-0s–0d each, the tombstone was raised and a fence erected around the grave. A ceremony was arranged, which was attended by many eminent people including a number of Lancashire dialect poets who acknowledged their debt to the first of their number, Tim Bobbin.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

Luke Fildes (Painter) 1843-1927

Born 3 Oct 1843
Died 28 Feb 1927
Aged 84

Self-portrait Sir Samuel Luke Fildes RA (1843-1927) Source: Royal Academy of Arts, London. Image is in the public domain.

Sir Samuel Luke Fildes, KCVO, R. A. was born in Liverpool and was a painter and illustrator. He studied in the South Kensington and Royal Academy schools.

At the age of seventeen Luke Fildes became a student at the Warrington School of Art. Fildes moved to South Kensington Art School where he met Hubert von Herkomer and Frank Holl. All three men became influenced by the work of Frederick Walker, the leader of the Social Realism movement in Britain.

In 1869 he joined the staff of The Graphic newspaper, an illustrated weekly edited by the social reformer, William Luson Thomas. An engraving in the first edition, entitled Houseless and Hungry, was brought to the attention of Charles Dickens, who was so impressed he immediately commissioned Fildes to illustrate The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

By 1870 he had given up working from the Graphic and had turned his full attention to oil painting. In 1874 Luke Fildes married Fanny Woods, who was also an artist and the sister of Henry Woods. Two of his works include The Casual Ward (1874) and The Widower (1876). He created other works, but not before his first son, Philip, died of typhoid in 1877. The image of the doctor at his son’s side during the ordeal left a lasting memory of professional devotion that inspired Fildes’ 1891 work The Doctor.

Other works  The Village Wedding (1883), An Al-fresco Toilette (1889) and The Doctor (1891), now in the National Gallery of British Art. Other works include the coronation portraits of King Edward VII  and Queen Alexandra. He was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1879, and academician in 1887. He was knighted in 1906. His son, Sir Paul Fildes, was an eminent scientist.

A blue plaque marks Fildes’s former house, Woodland House, in Melbury Road, Kensington, next to William Burges’s Tower House. His home was later owned by film director Michael Winner.

Fildes died in 1927 and is buried in Brookwood Cemetery.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

Henry Woods (Sculptor) 1846-1921

Born 22 Apr 1846
Died 27 Oct 1921
Aged 75

Photograph by Ralph Winwood Robinson (1862-1942). As at 2013,
an out of copyright image – Robinson died more than 70 years ago.

Henry Woods RA  was a British painter and illustrator, and one of the leading Neo-Venetian school artists.

Woods was born to a middle-class family at Warrington. His father, William, was a pawnbroker and for some time a town councillor; his mother, Fanny, a shopkeeper. He was the eldest of nine siblings.

Woods studied at Warrington School where he received a Department of Science and Art bronze medal, and a scholarship to study at South Kensington School of Art, moving to London in 1865 with his fellow art student Luke Fildes: “the two became each other’s greatest friend and artistic confidant for life”. In 1869 both Woods and Fildes became illustrators for The Graphic newspaper, and became associated with artists John Everett Millais, Hubert von Herkomer and Frank Holl. The same year Woods began exhibiting at Royal Academy exhibitions – his style influenced by Carl van Haanen and Eugene de Blaas – and continued to do so until his death.

By 1871 Woods and Luke Fildes were lodging together in Finsbury, London, and later at 22 King Henry’s Road, Haverstock Hill, where each had a studio. Both were part of an outdoor landscape sketching circle that included Marcus Stone and Charles Edward Perugini. In 1874 Woods became brother-in-law to Fildes through the marriage of Fildes to his sister, Fanny, also an artist.


Woods first visit to Venice was in 1876, and, despite a few trips back to England, he stayed and worked there from 1878 to the end of his life, portraying everyday life of Venetian people. He became friends with the artist colony of Ludwig Passini, August von Pettenkofen, Cecil van Haanen, Eugene de Blaas, Roussoff, Ruben, and Thoren. He met Whistler in 1879–80, introducing him to Roussoff, and befriended Sargent. In the summer of 1880 he visited England and took up a commission in the Artists’ Rifles – he had been a volunteer for some years – practicing maneuvers on Wimbledon Common, and posting guard at Royal Academy banquets.


Apart from two-and-a-half years prior to 1919, and occasional visits to England to exhibit at the Royal Academy, Woods remained in Venice until the end of his life, latterly at the Calcina Hotel near the Zattere. On 27 October 1921, in the morning, Woods was painting at the Ducal Palace and returned by gondola to the Calcina for lunch. The gondolier returned later and found Woods dead beside his easel. A memorial service was held at San Vio, the English Church, after which he was buried in the Protestant cemetery.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

James Charles (Artist) 1851-1906

Born 5 Jan 1851
Died 27 Aug 1906
Aged 55

James Henry Charles was a British impressionist artist.

Charles was born in Warrington to a French family who were long settled in Carnarvon, and owned fishing and cargo boats trading with Anglesey. His father, Richard Charles, was a draughtsman and cabinet maker, who designed the mayor of Carnarvon’s chain of office, now in the town hall, where also hangs his portrait painted by his son.

As a lad of fourteen, James Charles accompanied his father to London, where he received a desultory education while working in his father’s office. He was employed for some time at a lithographer’s, then studied at Heatherley School of Fine Art in Newman Street, and finally entered the Royal Academy School in 1872.

He married Ellen Agnes Williams in 1875 (who died in 1909) and they had five sons and seven daughters together. He settled at 15 Halsey Street, Chelsea and exhibited his first picture at the Royal Academy, “An Italian Youth in Armour”, and sold it on the opening day. In 1876 he had four pictures in the Academy, including his father’s portrait, and in 1877 three portraits, one being of Victor Cavendish the present duke of Devonshire, and his brother as children; from this date to 1904 he was yearly represented by one to four pictures.

Charles also exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery. In 1879 he was introduced to a picture collector of Bradford, John Maddocks, who appreciated his work, and henceforward not only purchased many of his canvases himself, but made him known in Bradford and the north of England, where he established a lasting and profitable connection. He also exhibited at the newly formed New English Art Club.

In 1907, after his death, some of Charles’s work was shown in the winter exhibition of the Royal Academy, and the sale of seventy-six of his remaining works at the Leicester Gallery produced about £3,000. In addition to the art galleries named, those of Warrington and Dublin also possess examples of his work. Charles has 63 paintings in public collections in the United Kingdom.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

Eric Tucker (Artist) 1932-2018

Born 1932
Died 2018
Aged 85 or 96

Eric Tucker (1932–2018) was an English painter and draughtsman. He is best known for his depictions of working class social life in industrial North West England. The media have often described Tucker as the “secret Lowry”.

He received no formal art education and left school at 14, working variously as a boxer, a steelworker, a gravedigger and a building labourer. Unknown during his lifetime, he made very few attempts to sell or show his work. Few beyond close family were aware that he painted. In his lifetime Tucker sold just two paintings.

His work came to public attention following his death in 2018, when he left behind a hoard of more than 400 paintings, and thousands of drawings, in his house in Warrington. Visitors queued around the block to see a two-day exhibition at Tucker’s house. Following this, a 2019 retrospective at Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, titled Eric Tucker: The Unseen Artist, attracted record numbers of visitors to the gallery. In July 2021 two London art galleries Connaught Brown and Alon Zakaim exhibited 40 oils and watercolours.

Tucker was influenced by artists including Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Edward Burra.

Critics have compared Tucker to Edward Burra, L. S. Lowry, James Ensor, Julian Trevelyan and Eric Ravilious. Art critic Ruth Millington described Tucker’s work as a ‘significant contribution to modern British art’.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

John Geering (Cartoonist) 1941-1999

Born 9 Mar 1941
Died 13 Aug 1999
Aged 58

Born in Latchford, Warrington,

John Keith Geering was a British cartoonist with a distinctive, occasionally flamboyant style, most famous for his work for DC Thomson comics including SparkyThe TopperCrackerPlugNuttyThe Beano and The Dandy.

Geering’s strips included:

  • Puss ‘n’ Boots (Sparky/Topper/Dandy), a more anarchic, surreal take on the traditional cat-and-dog strips, complete with bizarre dialogue and situations – Boots, for example, having taken a gardening job, boasts that the perks include “all the grass I can eat”, whilst Puss can be found selling ice cream at the North Pole.
  • Smudge (Beano), correctly billed as the world’s dirtiest schoolboy, relishing any opportunity to get covered in grime and filth that presents itself.
  • Bananaman (Nutty/Dandy/Beano), a bungling superhero whose alter-ego is a stubble-headed schoolboy. This character proved particularly popular during its run in Nutty, and spawned an animated television series voiced by Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden. The strip continues today in The Dandy, drawn by Andy Janes. Bananaman Geering reprints have been running in The Beano since January 2012.

He worked at Cosgrove Hall animation studios in Manchester on Danger MouseCount Duckula, and the 1989 film The BFG based on the 1982 novel of the same name by Roald Dahl.

Geering’s last new strip was Dean’s Dino, which he drew for The Beano shortly before his death. He also produced topical and political satire cartoons for British newspapers.

He had lived in the village of Comberbach with his wife for many years before his death.

He died in Warrington, aged 58.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

Howard Ben Tre (Artist and Sculptor) 1949-2020

Born 13 May 1949
Died 20 Jun 2020
Aged 71

Plaque recognising Tre’s street design (top) in Warrington Town Centre. Photo © GI Gandy/

Howard Ben Tré was an American glass artist, born in Brooklyn, New York. He worked with poured glass, creating small sculptures and large scale public artworks. Glass magazine has called Ben Tré a pioneer in the technique of using hot glass casting in fine art.

In the 1960s he attended Brooklyn College for two years and was a political activist.

He started by blowing glass, struggling to succeed at the skill. Through his education at Portland State University, he would discover the process of pouring glass. Pulling inspiration from African and Japanese religious icons and figures, he uses his artwork to explore connections between the two.

Ben Tré utilized his training as an industrial manufacturing master technician to create glass artworks based on traditional methods. His studio space, located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, is a former glass product manufacturing plant. He created fine art castings by pouring molten glass into sand molds, applying heat and then cooling them for months. The form is then dug out from the sand mold, sand blasted, cut, ground, and polished.

Many of Ben Tré’s works involve the use of gold leaf; by way of wrapping portions of works or installing lead bars within the pieces covered with gold leaf. The glass sculptures are often symmetrical. His wife, Gay, assisted in the designing and planning of his large scale works, including the installation of his public art.

Ben Tré’s connection with Warrington is the street design known as the River of Life and the circular display at Market Gate, commissioned after the IRA bombing of Warrington in 1993.

The ten green fibre glass structures represents the Ten Guardians and the Well of Light; the Ten Guardians symbolising the people who have protected or worked for Warrington over the past couple of thousand years, those who do now and those who will in the future.

The street design cost a reputed £5m to build and the townsfolk are still split on whether our money was wisely spent.

Howard Ben Tré died on 20th June 2020.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

Francis Grace Broomfield (Artist) 1951-

Born 1951

Frances Broomfield (born 1951 in Warrington) is an artist and illustrator. She attended St.Oswald’s Primary School in Padgate, and watched George Formby’s funeral go past her Grandma’s house on Manchester Road.

She studied at Warrington Art School and later at Newport Art College, before living in London for several years. She has taken part in many exhibitions in the UK and USA and her work is in collections, private and public, around the world, including Warrington Museum & Art Gallery where she had a solo exhibition.

Since 1980 she has exhibited with Portal Gallery London and featured in their book “A Singular Vision – 50 Years of British Painting”. Her work has been seen on TV, MTV, and in magazines and books, including Colin Dann’s “Animals of Farthing Wood”, the Oxford University Press “Alice in Wonderland” series, and most recently in “The Real Alice in Wonderland” by C M Rubin (2010).

Type Frances Broomfield in your search engine for more about her work, including where you can view some of her creations.

(Information supplied)

Mike Hill (Model Maker) 1971-

Born 1971

Mike Hill was born in Dallam, Warrington in 1971 and is a model maker who has created some of the most inspiring monster models for some of the biggest names in Los Angeles, where he is now based.

In 2012 he won the Henry Alvarez Award for creative design for the fourth year in a row.

In an interview with the Warrington Guardian at the time he said: “All weekend I proudly wore my Warrington Wolves shirt.

“So the Wolves are all over LA, which I thought was pretty cool.”

Some of his work includes a statue of Superman actor Christopher Reeve and he has received commissions from celebrities including the late Playboy boss Hugh Hefner.

Read the full article in the Warrington Guardian.

Curtis Jobling (Animator) 1972-

Born 14 Feb 1972

Curtis Jobling by Mark Jobling,
released into the public domain.

Curtis Jobling is a British illustrator, animator and author, born in Blackpool, England but lives in Warrington. He was production designer of children’s TV hit Bob the Builder, where he visualised all of that programme’s characters and sets. Jobling is also an author and illustrator of children’s books, including Frankenstein’s Cat, a muddled up feline. The first series of Frankenstein’s Cat has aired on CBBC and BBC1 in the UK. Frankenstein’s Cat has also aired in France, Australia and South America.

Curtis’ pre-school show, Raa Raa the Noisy Lion, about a noisy lion cub and his Jingly Jangly Jungle friends was produced by Chapman Entertainment and McKinnon and Saunders, and first aired on the BBC’s CBeebies channel in Spring 2011.

In 2010, Curtis signed a two-book deal with Puffin for his young adult series of fantasy horror entitled Wereworld. The first novel, Rise of The Wolf, was released in January 2011 in the UK, and short-listed for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2011. The US edition was released in Fall 2011. The second book, Rage of Lions was released Summer 2011, with books 3 & 4 released in 2012, and books 5 & 6 released in the summer and fall of 2013 respectively.

He is a fan of the rugby team Warrington Wolves (nickname The Wire).

Information retrieved from Wikipedia, which includes a list of his works.