Artist profile - Lloyd George Higgins

Match day at Turf Moor

Match day at Turf Moor - Credit: Archant

Work by a Lancashire painter dead for more than a quarter of a century is getting rave reviews at a special exhibition

LGH at work in his studio

LGH at work in his studio - Credit: Archant

It is a first for our Artist of the Month to be departed from this life but work by the wonderfully named painter Lloyd George Higgins is going through an enthusiastic revival.

An exhibition of his pictures at Towneley Hall - originals are for sale between £400 and £1,000 - has proved so popular the curators have extended the show to September 15th. It is easy to see why so many like his work.

LGH, as he was known, captured the lives of people in the Pennines communities in landscapes that had been created largely through the textile industries. While there are obvious similarities with L.S. Lowry - the Salford painter encouragemed him - the characters depicted by LGH display rather more happiness, humour and warmth.

He was born in 1912 in Mossley, a small cotton community which bordered the traditional boundaries of Lancashire, Cheshire and the West Riding, and became the first local to win a scholarship to Salford Royal College of Art, gaining a distinction in Fine Arts and Textile Design.

Cathedrals, a textile design by LGH

Cathedrals, a textile design by LGH - Credit: Archant

After college, he and a partner founded a textile business that, using his own designs, became renowned for hand silk screen printing of furnishing material. Sadly, cheap imports put pay to the business and he and his family moved to Todmorden where he taught and painted.

LGH, who had a brother called Winston Churchill Higgins, exhibited his work in galleries all over the north as well as in London and Paris and his pictures are in private and public exhibitions worldwide.

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He portrayed the world he saw as a textile designer in the border towns where his keen sense of humour and the cartoon-like quality of his work act as a counterweight to the hard grind experienced by their inhabitants. There was invariably a small dog somewhere in each scene.

His daughters, June Isles and Wendy Harvey, have been delighted by the public response to the exhibition. June said: 'These are far from the sombre scenes Lowry depicted. Dad portrayed inhabitants worn by hard work yet touched with humour. In fact, many of our visitors have been able to relate to the closeness of working communities and the friendliness and support imparted by people of the north. The exhibition is proving to be of great interest to people from both the local and social history perspective.'

Man in a cloth cap, one of LGH's portraits of working men

Man in a cloth cap, one of LGH's portraits of working men - Credit: Archant

Last words to LGH, who retired to Worsthorne near Burnley and died in 1980. He wrote: 'Life seems to weave us into its own set of patterns not only in the work-a-day but in sports events, demonstrations, band concerts, sponsored walks, school routine and recreational activities. These are my subjects and the pictures I enjoy painting and sketching. I hope they will give you pleasure.' They clearly do. u

You can see more of his work at lghiggins.co.uk