John Midgley obituary | Painting

My husband, John Midgley, who passed away at the age of 85, was an artist who specialized in creating posters and banners for unions.

After a period of his own activism in the workplace in the early 1960s, he began designing for unions when he was fired as a tutor at the Camden Arts Institute in London to assist staff and students in a labor dispute.

He then set up a studio with a group of other artists in Brent, North West London, and began creating political posters and banners for several unions, notably the National Union of Mineworkers as well as various community groups. He also created panels for the TUC Congress House in London. Seeing his many banners move in the streets during the Durham Miners galas made him extremely proud.

John was born in Leeds to the butcher Sidney Midgley and the teacher Grace (nee Lupton). He attended Ilkley High School and after his national service completed an education in fine arts at the Harrogate Art School.

September song by John Midgley

He lived in London from 1965 to 1980, worked for a number of years as an art advisor for the London borough of Haringey, helping the council set up art exhibitions and encouraging local artists to show their work in the borough – and continued doing his private artwork. He then taught at the Camden Arts Institute before setting up studios for artists, filmmakers, craftsmen, sculptors, etc. in Brent. It was then, in 1969, that he and I met at the Railway Tavern in Hampstead.

In 1980 we moved to Aylsham, Norfolk, where we married in 1981, and shortly afterwards to Plumstead, also in Norfolk, where John ran a small business that produced his banners and posters from a purpose-built studio. Aside from this work, he was excellent at drawing people and scenes; Around 2010 John became a member of the Norwich 20 artist group. We moved to Mundesley in 2013, not long after he sold his business, and John painted some of his best paintings there.

Over the years his work has been featured in a number of galleries including the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London and the Anteros Arts Foundation in Norwich.

John was a kind and generous man and will be missed by his many friends and former colleagues.

He is survived by me and his sister Christine.

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