2024

Kith and Kinship: Cornish and Lowry - The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle. July 20th 2024 to January 19th 2025

2021

Behind the Scenes revealed, Castlegate House Gallery, Cockermouth, September 18th to October 8th.

2020

The Sketchbooks - Palace Green Library, Durham. November 16th February 23rd 2020 The Definitive Collection - The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle. November 16th - February 23rd 2020 Norman Cornish Revealed - Gallery North, University of Northumbria. November 28th - December 20th.

2019

The Norman Cornish Centenary Year is launched on April Sth 2019 at Spennymoor Town Hall with the opening of The Norman Cornish Trail, The John Kitson Archway and an exhibition showing the story of The Miners' Gala Mural. Centenary Exhibitions: A Slice of Life - The Mining Art Gallery Bishop Auckland. April 6th - Jan 10th. The Portraits - Gala Gallery, Durham, June 30th - September 1st. A Centenary - Castlegate House Gallery, Cockermouth. July 6th - July 27th. A Man of Destiny The Greenfield Gallery, Newton Aycliffe. October 10th - December 11th.

2018

Planning commences with Durham County Council to celebrate the Norman Cornish Centenary in 2019. Spennymoor Town Council announces the planned development of the Norman Cornish Trail in and around Spennymoor.

2017

Sarah Cornish dies on 24th July. Cornish at Castlegate - Castlegate House Gallery, Cockermouth, September 16th to October 7th 2017. Commencement of PhD research into the Cornish Archive by University of Northumbria and development of instrumental analysis of all of the artist‘s materials in a joint project involving Northumbria University, Newcastle University and The University of Nara in Japan. ‘Behind the Scenes: the Norman Cornish Sketchbooks’, published by Norman Cornish Ltd, launched at The Durham Book Festival by Michael Chaplin with a foreword by Melvyn Bragg.

2016

Northumbria University and Spennymoor Town Council jointly support the development and opening of the ‘Coming Home’ exhibition at Spennymoor Town Hall. The Bishop's Close Street exhibition opens at Tennant's, Leyburn, North Yorkshire in collaboration with Beamish Museum.

2015

A Blue Plaque is installed at 67 Whitworth Terrace and supported by Durham County Council and Spennymoor Town Council. Beamish Museum announces plans to develop a 1950s town which will include the re-creation of the Cornish family home from 33 Bishop's Close Street. Castlegate House Gallery in Cockermouth is engaged to act on behalf of the Norman Cornish estate.

2014

Norman Cornish died on 1st August, 2014. The eulogy at Norman's funeral was spoken by Michael Chaplin and later broadcast by BBC Radio 4 ‘Last Words.’ The Bishop‘s Close Street Exhibition. The Greenfield Gallery, Newton Aycliffe. A selection of sketchbooks exhibited for the first time. Two memorial lectures were presented at Spennymoor Town Hall by Norman‘s biographers Robert MacManners and Gillian Wales. Norman‘s studio is donated to Beamish Museum, County Durham.

2013

One-man exhibition ‘The Lost World of Norman Cornish’ opens at the University Gallery, Northumbria University, touring to Kings Place Gallery, London. Launch of the book ‘The Lost World of Norman Cornish’, published by Northumbria University Gallery, October 2013.

2012

One-man exhibition ‘Cornish and Paris’ at the University Gallery, Northumbria University. Awarded Honorary Doctorate of Arts Sunderland University.

2011

Awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Sunderland University. November 6th recorded interview with Dan Cruickshank for BBC 2 documentary.

2010

‘A Rich Seam of Life Exhibition’ The Greenfield Gallery, Newton Aycliffe. ‘A Shot Against Time’ published by the University Gallery, Northumbria University. Recorded interview with Robson Green in the studio at Spennymoor.

2009

One-man exhibition ‘Norman Cornish at Ninety’ opens at Northumbria University Gallery and Kings Place Gallery London. ‘The Quintessential Cornish’ (Gemini Productions).

2008

Receives an MBE for his contribution to art. ‘The Quintessential Cornish’ exhibition at Bishop Auckland Town Hall of privately owned works.

2007

Scottish & Newcastle Breweries donates the painting ‘Busy Bar’ to Northumbria University for the Permanent Collection.

2006

One-man exhibition ‘Nightshift’ at the University Gallery. Features in the BBC television series ‘Inside Out’.

2005

One-man exhibition ‘Simply Norman Cornish’ at the University Gallery, Bailiffgate Museum, Alnwick and at Piano Nobile, London.

2004

One-man exhibition ‘The Art of Norman Cornish’ opens at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, in celebration of his 85th birthday.

2002

One-man exhibition ‘A Shot Against Time’ at the University Gallery, Red Box Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne & ING Barings, London. First solo exhibition at Barings Bank.

1999

One-man exhibition ‘Paintings and Drawings’ at the University Gallery. ‘Cornish and Spennymoor’, published by the University Gallery. 2001 Pastel sold for £6000, at the time a record price for a living British artist.

1997

Norman and Sarah Cornish present ten paintings to Northumbria University for the Permanent Collection which are exhibited as part of the ‘New Acquisitions’ exhibition with Lucien Freud, Walter Sickert.

1996

One-man exhibition at Spennymoor Town Hall.

1995

Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law from Northumbria University.

1992

One-man exhibition ‘Norman Cornish: Paintings and Sketches’ opens at the University Gallery and subsequently tours to Oueen's Hall Arts Centre, Hexham; Woodhorn Church Museum, Ashington; the Customs House Gallery, South Shields and Hartlepool Art Gallery.

1990

Exhibition tours to Woodhorn Church Museum, Ashington. Scottish & Newcastle Brewery.

1989

‘Norman Cornish at Seventy’ first major exhibition at the University Gallery (known as the Polytechnic Gallery from 1977-1991). Launch of his autobiography’A Slice of Life’ published by Mallabar Contemporary Arts. Two Border Artists re-launched with Stanley Spencer and Graham Sutherland.

1988

Features in Melvyn Bragg‘s documentary series ‘Scenes from Working Lives: A focus on artists Stanley Spencer, Graham Sutherland and Norman Cornish‘for BBC2.

1987

Starts writing his autobiography.

1981

The Stone Gallery closes.

1980

Receives a commission from the Port of Tyne Authority for paintings of the Roll-on Roll-off Ferry Terminal and the River Pageant celebrating Newcastle‘s 900th Anniversary. Leaves the Stone Gallery after 22 years of collaboration.

1977

‘About Britain’, Tyne Tees Television broadcast nationally.

1976

Features in ‘Shapes of Cornish’ for Tyne Tees Television ‘Lifestyle’ programme series.

1975

Features in ‘Shafts of Sunlight’ a BBC One Omnibus production. Reporter Humphrey Burton, producer Geoffrey Baines.

1974

Awarded an Honorary Master of Arts Degree from Newcastle University. Self Portrait (Shipley Art Gallery) photographed by the National Portrait Gallery

1973

Produces a series of drawings for the book ‘A Tree with Rosy Apples’ by Sid Chaplin. ‘In the picture’ with Melvyn Bragg, discusses the work of Thomas Hair. ‘Pitman‘s Academy’, BBC programme with Sid Chaplin.

1971

Produces the cover illustration for the Northern Echo Christmas magazine.

1970

Prime Minister Edward Heath purchases his second Cornish painting from the Stone Gallery. Produces a series of drawings for the book ‘The Leaping Lad’ a collection of short stories by Sid Chaplin.

1969

Exhibits 32 large scale portraits including a self-portrait in ‘Men of the North East’ at the Stone Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne. Interviewed by T.S. Ferguson in the Sunday Telegraph about the Spennymoor Sketching Club.

1968

Sixth Stone Gallery Exhibition Interviewed by Dominic Behan for the Tyne Tees series ‘Abroad with Behan’

1967

Moves to a converted Methodist Manse on Whitworth Terrace, Spennymoor. Members (approximately 50) of the Tate Gallery Contemporary Art Society, London, arrange a home/studio visit. Mixed exhibition ’The Stone Gallery’: Including G. Romney, J. Constable, William Etty, W. Holman Hunt, D.G. Rossetti, Sir J.E. Millais, Sir E. Burne- Jones, Sheila Fell, L.S. Lowry, Sir William MacTaggart, Ben Nicholson, N.S. Cornish.

1966/1967 (2)

The Stone Gallery Winter Exhibition: Including Jacob Epstein, Sir William MacTaggart, Theodore Major, L.S. Lowry, John Piper, Augustus John, W.R. Sickert, J.M. Whistler, George Rouault, Maurice de Vlaminck, N.S. Cornish. Dean & Chapter Colliery closes, Bishop's Close Street to be demolished.

1966/1967

The Stone Gallery Winter Exhibition: Including Jacob Epstein, Sir William MacTaggart, Theodore Major, L.S. Lowry, John Piper, Augustus John, W.R. Sickert, J.M. Whistler, George Rouault, Maurice de Vlaminck, N.S. Cornish. Dean & Chapter Colliery closes, Bishop's Close Street to be demolished.

1966

Exhibition, ‘Painters of the North’, Stone Gallery: Including N.S. Cornish, Sheila Fell, L.S. Lowry, Theodore Major. Working at Tudhoe Park Drift Mine when, with recurring back problems, he requests redundancy. At the age of 47, after 33 years as a miner, he becomes a full-time professional artist. Starts teaching at Durham Technical College and Sunderland College of Art. Spends a week in Paris filming for the television series ‘Close Up Cornish in Paris’, written and produced by Frank Kilbride, with Bob Langley reporting, for Tyne Tees Television.

1964

Exhibition at The Stone Gallery: Reviewed by national press. Participates in ‘Leading Questions’ a televised panel discussion answering questions on art. 1965 ‘The Richer Life: The Artists and the Region’ produced by Robert Tyndall for Tyne Tees Television.

1963

Starts work at Tudhoe Mill Drift Mine. The Duke of Edinburgh opens County Hall and unveils the Cornish mural. ‘Through a Miner‘s Eye’ article by David Bean is published in Topic Magazine. ‘A Good and Comely Life’ interviews with John Braine, Sid Chaplin, Len Doherty, John Peace and Norman Cornish for BBC Radio. Appears with Sheila Fell on the Arts programme ‘Monitor’ in ‘Two Border Artists’ introduced by Sir Huw Wheldon, produced and directed by Melvyn Bragg for the BBC. Sheila Fell was a reluctant participant as Cornish didn't have an academic background.

1962

The Stone Gallery relocates to St Mary's Place, Newcastle upon Tyne. 44 pieces listed and reviewed in national press. Durham County Council commissions a 29 x 6 foot mural for County Hall at Aykley Heads, Durham. Given twelve months unpaid leave of absence from Mainsforth Colliery, Ferryhill Station, to work on the commission. Receives a fee of £1000. Reluctant at first, persuaded by The Stone Gallery as a ‘cornerstone of his career.

1960

Second exhibition at the Stone Gallery is opened by Sir James Bowman, Chairman of the National Coal Board. Sid Chaplin reviews the exhibition in the Guardian newspaper. Two paintings are purchased for the Laing Art Gallery‘s Collection. Meets Jack Lawson at The Stone Gallery. 1961 Cornish works compared with Toulouse-Lautrec’s work on ‘Your Kind of Music’ competed by Spike Milligan and produced by Peter Glover for Tyne Tees Television. Stone Gallery letters to Cornish: pressure from his agent, Mick Marshall to leave Dean & Chapter Colliery to become full time professional artist.

1959/1960

Exhibition at The Stone Gallery, Brunswick Place, Newcastle: Including John Piper, Joseph Herman, John Peace, Tom McGuinness, N.S. Cornish.

1959

First exhibition at the Stone Gallery, Brunswick Place, Newcastle upon Tyne. Receives commission to produce drawings of working men‘s heads for the programme ‘The Burning Question’ chaired by Jack Clarke and produced by H.K. Lewenhak, Head of Features, Tyne Tees Television. Minister for Arts, Dame Irene Ward, asks NCB for Cornish ‘to be as helped in any way possible and practical with his painting.’

1958

Receives a second commission to design a banner for Tudhoe Mill Drift, which is commissioned at Spennymoor Town Hall on July 18“ by Hugh Gaitskell, leader of the Labour Party.

1956

Participates in a group exhibition on the theme of Industrial Britain at the Chenil Gallery, Chelsea, London. Son, John Cornish born 5 December. 1957 Designs a banner for Westerton Lodge drift mine, which is unfurled at Spennymoor Town Hall on 19“ July by Anthony Greenwood, Member of Parliament for Rossendale Division of Lancashire.

1954

Travels to London en route to Romania as part of a cultural delegation, but decides to cancel the trip and return to Spennymoor. Participates in the 6th Annual Federation of Northern Art Societies. His Self- Portrait is purchased for the Shipley Art Gallery's Collection.

1953

Moves to Bishop's Close Street, Spennymoor. Working at the coal face one day he is asked to go to the nearest telephone 300 yards away. Asked to paint the portrait of the Chairman of the Durham District Coal Board. Invited to a weekend conference with John Minton.

1952

Exhibits the painting ‘The Fish Shop’ in the exhibition ‘Contemporary Artists of County Durham’ at the Shipley Art Gallery Gateshead, as part of the Festival of Britain celebrations. Participates in the Spennymoor Sketching Club‘s group exhibition at The Crow's Nest Hotel, Haymarket, Newcastle upon Tyne. His painting, ‘The Three Beers’, is mentioned by Ivan Geffen in the Evening Chronicle review of 16th January. Geffen subsequently purchases the painting, which he describes as “the best painting by an amateur artist he has ever seen.’ Exhibition, The Mirror and The Square - Realism to Abstraction, New Burlington Galleries, London: Including L.S. Lowry, Stanley Spencer, Wyndham Lewis, Victor Pasmore, Ben Nicholson, Graham Sutherland, Fred Uhlman, Norman Cornish.

1951

Participates in the exhibition ‘Northern Realists: Realism in Contemporary Art’, at Tullie House, Carlisle, which includes paintings by L.S. Lowry and Victor Pasmore. Winifred Nicholson opens the exhibition. Attends a CAMDIN (Council for the Encouragement of Art, Music and Drama in Northumberland) weekend course at Wallington, Northumberland as a guest tutor with John Minton and Harry Thubron. Meets Ted Harrison who becomes a life-long friend.

1950

Exhibits eight paintings in the 17th Annual Spennymoor Settlement Sketching Club exhibition at Annfield Plain Library. Participates in ‘The Coalminers’ exhibition at the Artists‘ International Association Gallery, Lisle Street, Leicester Square, London, which includes work by Henry Moore. Is a guest of Fred and Diana Uhlman whilst he is in London.

1948

‘Art by the Miner’, including eighteen paintings from the Spennymoor Sketching Club, travels to the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne. Buys 24 Catherine Street, Spennymoor, from his maternal grandmother. 1949 Daughter Ann Cornish is born, 17 October. Wins a drawing prize at the ‘Federation of Northern Art Societies’ Annual Conference,’ North Shields.

1947

Exhibits seven paintings in the exhibition ‘Art by the Miner’ (which he also hangs) at the Academy Cinema, Oxford Street, London. The event was part of a broader exhibition covering all aspects of mining titled ‘The Miner Comes to Town’ opened by the Prime Minister, Clement Attlee. Discovers the ‘Flo-master pen’ in a Reeves art shop in Camden Town. Guest appearance on the BBC‘s programme ‘Picture Page’, broadcast live from Alexandra Palace Studios, North London. First TV appearance.

1946

First one-man exhibition at the ‘Green Room’, the People's Theatre, Newcastle Upon Tyne. Marries Sarah Bartley at Rose Street Methodist Church in Trimdon Grange, County Durham. They ‘live in’ with a grandmother in Marmaduke Street, Spennymoor. Dr. W. Revans, Director of Education for the National Coal Board buys five paintings for the NCB. The Spennymoor Settlement is dubbed by the regional press as ‘The Pitman's Academy.’

1945

”Art, this thing that pives us so much pfeasure, is worthy of study and personally I consider it worthy of the study of my whole life.“

1944

Installs the Wyndham Art Collection at the Spennymoor Settlement. The exhibition is organised by CEMA (Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts, London). Rejected in a previous engagement because ‘he was a miner.’ Meets Sarah Bartley at the Clarence Ballroom, Spennymoor. Her father had been a miner and her grandfather was a founder member of Blackhall Colliery Band. He travels often to Trimdon where the ‘Rail Crossing and Signal Cabin’ were regular subjects for drawing.

1942

Applies for a grant to study art under Robert Lyon at Armstrong College, Newcastle (Lyon taught the Ashington Group). Although the Miners' Welfare Committee is sympathetic, under the regulations governing educational grants, Cornish is not eligible.

1940

His first oil painting, a portrait of his sister, Ella, is exhibited at the ‘Works of the Artists of the Northern Counties’ annual exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne.

1939

World War Two breaks out. Between mining and compulsory wartime fire- watching, he continues to draw and paint, moving towards the landscape genre. Paints people and the environment following Bill Farrell‘s advice to ’paint the things you know and see around you.’An application to the Slade School of Art in London is denied due to the national crisis.

1937

Becomes a ‘putter’ at the Dean and Chapter Colliery.

1935

Participates in the Sketching Club Annual Exhibition along with fellow miner Bob Heslop and painter and decorator Bert Dees. Mrs H.C. Baker-Baker of Elemore Hall, County Durham, offers Bill Farrell (the Warden) ten guineas to buy oil paints for the Sketching Club members.

1934

Joins Spennymoor Settlement Sketching Club where he meets Sid Chaplin. Initially rejected because he is ‘too young.’

1933

Leaves school on Christmas Eve. On Boxing Day, at the age of 14 he begins work as an underground datal lad at the Dean and Chapter Colliery, locally known as ‘The Butcher's Shop.’

1931

The Times refers to Spennymoor as ‘a place without a future, despair, desperation and futility.’ William Farrell opens ‘The Settlement’ on behalf of The Pilgrim Trust to raise self-esteem, personal growth and activity through theatre, craft and the Arts.

1930

Passes the Eleven Plus and attends The Alderman Wraith Grammar School.

1926

Contracts diphtheria. Remembers foraging for cinders as a child.

1922

Sarah Cornish, nee Bartley, is born on 21 July in 11 Quality Row, Shotton, County Durham, the fourth of seven children (with three brothers and three sisters.)

1919

Norman Stansfield Cornish is born to Jack and Florence Cornish on 18 November in Oxford Street, Spennymoor, County Durham, the oldest of six children, (five brothers : Tom, Jack, Jim, Bill, Bob and one sister, Ella.)