The Grey Man by Arthur Berry – viewing of this piece is essential.
More about Berry…..
Arthur Berry, the son of a Stoke on Trent Publican was born in 1925. Unable to work in the local industry of Coal Mining or Pottery manufacturing due to being born with a crippled arm, he enrolled at the Burslem School of Art at the age of 14 and under the tutorage of Gordon Mitchell Forsyth. His talent secured him a place at the Royal College of Art.
In London he was able to meet other inspirational artists and during the mid 40’s was often in the company of Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde, however, he suffered from increasingly severe agoraphobia and this in turn forced him to return home to Stoke-on-Trent.
After the war he taught at the Chelsea School of Art but such was his attraction and bond with Stoke on Trent he commuted every day and night from his home at Biddulph Moor.
Back in Stoke on Trent he returned to Burslem to teach at the School of Art, which later became a part of the North Staffordshire Polytechnic, (which even later became, as it is today, Staffordshire University), where he was a lecturer in Painting until 1985. During this time he made a significant contribution to the direction and career of another Burslem School of Art student, Jack Simcock.
His art works reflects the culture and heritage of North Staffordshire, and he became known for his ability to capture the vanishing lives, characters and landscapes of the industrial world of the Potteries. In addition to the important body of Art he produced, Berry was also a poet and playwrite of legendary status within his home town. His autobiography “A Three and Sevenpence Halfpenny Man” gives an interesting insight into the events which impacted on his life.
Retrospective exhibitions were held at Stoke on Trent City Museum and Art Gallery in 1984 and The Gallery, Manchester in 1995. While more recently, in 2015 The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery held a major Exhibition – Lowry and Berry: Observers of Urban Life that ran for some six month to critical acclaim. The sixty plus Berry works on display conveyed an authenticity of Potteries industrial life, one of resignation and hard graft coupled to great humour.