Friday, June 20, 2008

John Bratby

There's a controversial painting in the chapel on our Lancaster campus, painted by John Bratby. It's a crucifixion, depicted in what was then contemporary dress (early 1960s), with every person life-size . In fact, here is part of it © 2008 Andrew Whitehead:


It turns out that Bratby would have been 80 this year, so a book has been written about him. He was a 'Kitchen Sink' artist with a troubled life and there is clearly some interest in him again.

He's interesting to us, as he once taught at the art college in Carlisle (forerunner of our Brampton Road campus) and his Golgotha is in our Lancaster chapel.

It's not a picture you would want in front of you when getting married, or when celebrating some other joyful occasion in chapel. However, some people love it. I just think it should be in a gallery where people could appreciate it.

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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I just think it should be in a gallery where people could appreciate it."

hmm, can't say I disagree!

Mike Peatman said...

It's tempting to attend the book launch, simply to see if someone would like to buy it for some crazy amount of money. Then the new Chaplaincy Centre would be fully funded!

Anonymous said...

Also if you sold it you could make some money to buy some more appealing to the eye art for chapel - I personally find the redish shroud thing (on the back wall) scary. I say attend and sell painting!!! Hannah

Anonymous said...

It is part of the chapel at S Martins and needs to remain there

Pity it is covered over now with a curtain

Mike Peatman said...

Interesting to hear from a Bratby fan. Most people complained when the curtain was open and asked me to close it! It divides opinion.

As you may know, it wasn't part of the original chapel design - it was intended for a college in Manchester. The front of chapel had to be modified as the organ would orginally have gone there and the wooden hatch covers where some of the organ workings would have gone, The pipes would have been above. On the original chapel plans, the Bratby is added in bold blue pen afterwards! If you look closely, you realise the installation was an afterthought.

LBH said...

My grandfather posed for this painting, he is the gentleman in the grey suit and yellow jumper. He was a good friend of John's, and my family and I are trying to track this painting down. Assuming it is still with you in Lancaster, is it possible for the public to visit and view? It would mean a lot to us, especially as my brother and I never met my grandfather. Any help or information would be greatly appreciated!

Mike Peatman said...

Yes - it is still there (I'm not chaplain any more). The chapel is open during the day, so I suggest you contact the chaplain, Alexandra Logan, or simply go to the University Reception and ask.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my father was great friends with John and his wife (at the time) Jean. He used to play snooker with John regularly. My father, Jack Sydenham is the robber on the right crucifix. I would very much like to see the painting as I never saw it as a child.

Big Phil said...

I always quite liked it... It is part of Saint Martins history. I do understand peoples opinions of not liking it, but us that the whole point of art... To divide opinions... To get people discussing a topic... In this case the crucifixion... I think it works.

Emma said...

Fascinating! It all makes sense now!

Philip Blundell said...

we talked about that picture at the third order meeting last Tuesday the chaplain said she got blinds to replace the curtain but they are to short