Kenneth Gribble artworks capture post-war Middlesborough

An important collection of paintings depicting well-known scenes of 1950s Middlesbrough is being offered as part of an online art sale hosted by Elstob Auctioneers of Ripon.

The 13 pieces of art are the work of the highly esteemed artist Kenneth Gribble (1925–1995) who had a strong affinity to the town and region throughout his career.

A number of famous landmarks are featured in the paintings. including the iconic Transporter Bridge, Empire Theatre and the Dorman Museum, as well as views of Thistle Street, Market Street, Buxton Street and Borough Road.

The paintings were collected over a number of years by a Middlesbrough couple with many being bought directly from the artist himself. The collection is now being sold as individual lots, with price estimates ranging from £40-£60 for a pair of charcoal sketches up to £500-£700 for an oil on canvas of Buxton Street, signed and dated 1952. The internet-based sale runs from now until Sunday 7 May.

“The paintings provide a unique snapshot of life from Middlesbrough’s post-war period,” said Rohan McCulloch, Paintings and Sculpture specialist at Elstob auctioneers. “It was a time of uneasy peace. Domestic rationing was still in force and austerity was the name of the game. Derelict sites were the result of war and urban decay and the heavy industry of iron and steel dominated the skyline. Yet, there are glimpses of the people who inhabited the town and the paintings highlight houses and street scenes in bright warm colours.

“It is also easy to pick out locations that are still recogniseable today. Sailor’s Farewell features a couple embracing by a riverside path but in the background the Transporter Bridge provides a well-known backdrop. Likewise, A Night Out shows a group of fashionably-dressed women walking down what is clearly the town’s busy Borough Road.

“The paintings will undoubtedly be of great interest to art collectors but also to people with a connection to the town and its history,” he added.

A pupil at Harrow School of Art, Camberwell School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art, Kenneth Gribble became a well-respected painter whilst also holding a series of teaching posts, including Principal of Maidstone College of Art and then Kent College of Art and Design.

Many of the paintings included in the Elstob sale were exhibited as part of a solo show held at the Middlesbrough Art Gallery, which featured 46 oil paintings of Middlesbrough and Teesside created by the artist between 1950 and 1955.

His paintings are currently on show in major galleries across the UK including Manchester City Art Gallery, the Usher Gallery in Lincoln and Middlesbrough Art Gallery.

Elstob’s online Pictures Sale has over 300 lots dating from the 16th century to work by contemporary artists and also features other favourite regional locations such as Richmond, Scarborough, Whitby and Holy Island.