John Chapman Original Paintings
John Chapman was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, England on 11 September 1946. During John's early years, he was very much aware that his older brother, Michael, had quite a talent for sketching. He would sit at his side, fascinated, for hours on end, just watching his brother produce drawings of cars, ships and aircraft. It was at this point that John felt a compulsion to start sketching. At the age of eleven, John started attending Bangor Street Secondary Modern School in Blackburn. The art teacher there was Peter Shackleton. At the time he had recently achieved celebrity status by selling one of his paintings to Barbara Castle, MP for Blackburn, and had appeared on TV, providing something of an early role model for John.
Peter must have recognised that John had some latent talent as he arranged for John to attend classes at Blackburn College of Art on Saturday mornings. James Dolby was head of the Art Department at the time. He inspired a generation of artists in Blackburn and there are several good examples of his work in Blackburn Art Gallery. John had the opportunity to try a wide variety of media whilst attending these Saturday morning classes.
After leaving school in 1961, John started full-time employment working as a junior layout artist in the advertising department of Blackburn's local newspaper - the Lancashire Evening Telegraph. Although the job was less than fulfilling creatively, John was still able to attend Blackburn Art College, both as a day-release student studying typography and life class in the evenings. At home, John was still working on his paintings. As well as trains, John was also producing gouache paintings of cars. A reorganisation of the newspaper office led to John being made redundant in 1963. The beautiful Telegraph building was itself soon to become a casualty of redevelopment. John's many paintings of the area as it appeared in the 1950s and early '60s remain a testament to his affection for this fine Victorian building.
Following the loss of his job at the Telegraph, John decided to go back to college as a full-time art student. This gave him the opportunity to work with a wide variety of media and techniques. James Dolby was still head of the Art School together with another fine artist, Garth Edwards. Although attractive, the life of a student didn't pay the bills, so John, looking to combine his passion for art with his passion for transport, started to write to British car manufacturers hoping to find work as a car stylist. Although unsuccessful, John was soon to be offered the job of technical illustrator at British Northrop in Blackburn. His job was to produce exploded line drawings of 'Super Loadmaster' mechanical shovels. These large ink drawings would then be printed up to illustrate service manuals and spare-parts lists. Although the work offered little scope for creativity, he was nevertheless able to refine such techniques that would transfer well to his later topographical line drawings.
John's painting were now being seen in commercial galleries throughout the North West. Individual customers and dealers would often want to see everything John had in the studio in order to make a choice for purchase, a process that could take hours, so cutting down on valuable painting time. The situation was far from ideal, aspart from wasting time, none of John's connections could offer him what he had now set his mind on - a one-man show in a London West-End gallery. By early 1978, John had completed over 40 new paintings for his first exhibition at W. H. Patterson's gallery in Mayfair. The exhibition was entitled 'The Nostalgic Works of J. L. Chapman'. In all, forty-two paintings were exhibited and well over thirty were sold on the preview night alone. The exhibition covered the full range of John's work, including railway scenes, period scenes of the Industrial North, rural landscapes and contemporary London views. It was a critical as well as a financial success. The London art critic and historian George Whittat compared the northern scenes favourably with Lowry's:
Rural scenes will always play an important part in John's work, and Maritime subjects too will continue to engage him, particularly as trips to the coastlines of Kent and northeast Scotland are constantly providing fresh inspiration.
We also have a selection of John Chapman limited edition prints available.
Bray Village by John Chapman
Original Watercolour Painting
Cottages at Wire Piddle by John Chapman
Original Watercolour Painting