Sunday 7 December 2008

Narrow Boat Painters

The Art of the Narrow Boat Painters by A J Lewery
Book Review

If A J Lewery's "Signwiritten Art" was too general and not sufficiently canal focused for you , here is the perfect supplement.

For over 200 years narrowboat artists have been creating floating works or art, making beautiful the utilitarian workhorse of the industrial revolution. Styles varied across the country and because the end results largely pre dated the camera and endured a harsh life little first hand evidence remains, making the subject a challenge for academic study.

AJ Lewery is the recognised authority on narrowboat art, basing this book on accounts given to him by the people who worked the canals and painted the boats in the various boatyards. It's a fascinating walk through the world of canal boat painting, putting things in perspective and showing how the art for evolved over time and how the end result changed according to the area, fashion and the fleet owner.

You will finish this little book both wiser and more informed, able to recognise the authenticity of the paintwork on the painstakingly restored traditional boats such as Gifford or Saturn, but also able to see the over stylised pastiche applied to many new "traditionals".

If you are thinking about painting your narrowboat you could do worse than read this book. It will give you some good ideas which you can incorporate into your design and whilst I wouldn't' recommend the slavish reproduction of a very traditional scheme on a modern boat, it gives me pleasure to look at the design I applied to the bows of Wand'ring Bark and know that the scheme was inspired by the design used on Saturn.

ISBN 0 - 7153 - 2140 -4

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