John Thompson, painter of the working man 1924-2011

Everyone should own at least one piece of original art. It needn’t be expensive. it could be a small piece by a local artist, a limited edition photograph, a old poster or some small object.
It should be something you like and preferably a good deal of what you pay for it should benefit the artist.

On a wet November afternoon in 1996, we were wandering around a mill in Uppermill which had lots of small spaces filled with crafts, antiques and artists and came across an old chap in a room full of his own paintings. This was the artist John Thompson who was beginning to find some small  recognition for his very individual work particularly of his “groups of men”. What was most engaging about him was his ability to talk. We didn’t leave for about two hours having talked about the world and his wife, painting, the art world and John’s life. We when did leave, it was with one of his works, already framed, group series number 39 which became an early Christmas present for the OH, duly dedicated and signed by John on the reverse. He didn’t talk us into it or sell it but with our long chat we had built up some form of connection that made his work somehow more relevant. He asked if I wanted to split the cost into ten payments on  postdated cheques as he said he still liked the idea of receiving a wage from his job.

Details from Group 39

Last week , the OH noticed that the painting had slipped down from its mount and was hanging askew behind the glass. I took it down and began to strip off the gubbins and masking tape to reveal the actual painting to sort it out. I noted that the original framing had been carried out by Garson & Co, a strange coincidence as I later bought the actual premises that Garson had operated from. Later that day, I thought I would check out John Thompson on the Internet, to see how his progress towards the position elect of the “New Lowry” was progressing. ( I ‘ave some of ’em ‘anging int House of Lords y’know) I was saddened and surprised to learn that he had passed away on July 16th at the age of 87.

Perhaps old John paid us a visit to check on his work and left us a hint that he had dropped by. Yes, John, we still like ’em. If you would like to know more about John, follow this link.


About Moorendman

A traveller through life who reads a great many of peoples works whilst self teaching himself.
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2 Responses to John Thompson, painter of the working man 1924-2011

  1. Robert says:

    love this post
    your description of meeting John was identical to the first time I bought one of his paintings
    I was lucky enough to meet him again a couple of times before his death last year, and his paintings are amongst my most cherished

    PS love yours!! Number 39! Dis you know he was well up into the 3000’s when he died – he numbered every painting and kept a record of it in his journal….

  2. I came across his studio by accident when spending Christmas 2010 at my girlfriend’s parents in Saddleworth. It was at the end of their road, a small glass fronted building attached to a small dry cleaners, and was blown away by what I saw. I returned with the intention of buying a piece 10 months later to find the studio empty and that John had passed away. Very sad. A great artist.

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