Norman Cornish, Mining Community Life Artist from County Durham

Norman Cornish, a former miner, is famous across the North East for his pictures of the mining community life in County Durham.  His detailed drawings captured the lives of working men and life in his hometown Spennymoor.

Norman was born on the 18th of November 1919 in the small town of Spennymoor in County Durham. From a young age Norman had always been passionate about drawing and painting, but at the age of just 14 Norman left school and began work as a coal miner.  At 15 he joined the local sketching club and started to exhibit his work but it was only in 1966 that Norman chose to leave the pits and, with huge support from his wife Sarah, his wife, worked to become a professional painter. In the years that followed Norman became known as one of the most sought-after contemporary painters in the country and was celebrated for his pictures of mining community life.  His work continues to be loved by people of all ages and backgrounds.

If you would like to see more pictures, the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, County Durham is holding the first major retrospective exhibition of works by Norman Cornish: The Definitive Collection, which celebrates the centenary of the acclaimed County Durham artist’s work and opens almost 100 years to the day of his birth in Spennymoor.

Visitors will be able to see more than 60 of his works, some of which haven’t been shown publicly before.  They’ll include drawings, pastels and oil paintings from both public and private collections and form the most comprehensive collection of his work ever assembled that tells the captivating story of his enduring career.

The exhibition was due to be held 16 November 2019 - 17 May 2020They have announced the extension of this popular exhibition for those who were not able to see it over the winter or just wanted to see it again when we were struck with the threat of COVID-19. 

They can't yet promise it will still be there when they are once more allowed to open the doors but John and Dorothy Cornish, the son and daughter-in-law of Norman, have narrated a review of the works in the Bowes Museum stunning exhibition and we are happy to share the link below for you to enjoy.

More information on this talented artist can be found on the official website of the artist Norman Cornish website