I’ve had a great response from people about my early birthday present, an original painting by Ken Law (1919-1988) entitled, “Oldham Landscape”. I thought I’d look into and share more of his wonderful artworks as this week’s Designer Desire.
For years, there was absolutely no information about Ken on the internet. Then his son John came across an online forum of people all over the world who either appreciated or owned examples of his work. John filled in a few details (one being to confirm that Ken Law the LSO cellist and Ken Law the artist were indeed the same person!). The family still own many of his works and two of the forum members visited Ken’s widow and photographed some of them. These have been shared on the forum.
A dedicated website has been created by Ken’s grandson however, other than some background information, just over half a dozen or so images of his oils and watercolours have been uploaded.
Additional image credits:
20th Century Forum | Deerfieldpb | Flickr | Ken Law
We’ve mentioned a few times previously that we love the work of artist Ken Law – and have a small collection of his 1960s prints – Hampstead High Street, Tower Bridge and New York Bridges, to date. Well, I was browsing a well-known online auction website a couple of weeks ago – and did a quick search for Ken Law to see if any of his vintage prints were currently for sale. My jaw dropped when this original oil painting appeared before my eyes – only just listed. Straight away I thought, “Oooooh, early 50th birthday present?!”.
The painting depicts Oldham – a Lancashire (now Greater Manchester) mill town about 15 miles from here. Perhaps former mill town might be more accurate now; at its peak, it was the largest cotton-spinning town in the world. Justin grew up in the neighbouring town of Rochdale and often went to Oldham on Tommyfield’s flea market day – and for nights out in his youth! So this landscape is very much in his psyche – and mine too, as an honorary Northerner, residing here for nearly 20 years now.
It’s a classic Northern Industrial scene – factories, terraced houses, chimneys – the Pennine moors in the distance. This picture captures it on a winter’s day, sun low in the sky, snow covering the rooftops and vehicles slipping & sliding down the hill!
Ken used oil on gesso – the surface being painted, scratched and gouged. It’s full of character and texture. We’re still researching, but we think that this painting was exhibited at The Royal Academy in the late 1960s.
By this point, you’ll realise that we can describe it quite accurately and have taken lots of photos – yes, it did become my 5oth birthday present – it arrived today!
I just couldn’t let the opportunity for a genuine Ken Law depicting favourite subject matter slip through my fingers. There are certainly no regrets now it’s arrived – it makes me happy just looking back at the photos in this post.
Much loved already – I’ll always remember when it came to live with us. A real birthday treat!
In our last Ken Law inspired post, we mentioned that we were on the lookout for a copy of his ‘New York’ print. Well, our wait is over!
We bought this cute little example last week – for the bargain price of £1. The stylised river, bridge and skyline scene is classic Ken Law. We love how he creates an image incorporating a series of coloured ‘blocks’. It’s so imaginative and distinctive.
Despite only being small, it still grabs your attention as you turn a corner on our landing. We’ve hung it alongside a group of vintage West German vases. We thought the styles and colours worked very well together. One of our last foreign trips (pre Fudge) was a fabulous ten-day holiday in New York – so, in addition to being an eye-catching decorative piece, it’s a lovely reminder of some great days sightseeing, shopping and drinking cocktails in El Quijote!
As we mentioned in yesterday’s post, we’ve just returned from a short break in London & Brighton. In addition to visiting relatives and generally being lazy for a few days, we also had to collect a picture we’d bought on eBay a while ago.
The subject matter of this vintage Ken Law print was very apt!
It’s a stylised Thames scene featuring the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, working boats and riverside buildings.
It’s stunning… the use of colour & tone and the distinctive block style. We’ve been fans of Ken Law for some time now – we have a Hampstead High Street print by him too – and there’s a fabulous depiction of a New York bridge that we’d like to get hold of sometime.
We hung it on the wall of the lovely 1960s London house where we were staying to photograph it. It looked so at home there! We almost felt guilty packing it up in our car for the journey up North.