Peter Burns: Painter of the Tyne Shipyards exhibition


An exhibition of paintings by Peter Burns that depict the vanished world of the Tyneside shipyards; the character of the people who worked there, and the trades of the ship builders.  With the first-hand experience of a plater who spent all his working life in the ship building industry, Peter has captured on canvas the life of the Tyneside shipyards and the characters of his fellow workers.

In 1978 a secondment from Swan Hunter to British Shipbuilders gave Peter a unique opportunity to visit and paint in shipyards throughout the north of England over a period of 18 months. This project resulted in an exhibition of his work at the Northumbria University Gallery.

Peter’s work has featured in several books including Where the Wall Ends and in the Shipyard Muddling collections of poetry of his friend and work colleague, the late Jack Davitt.

Dame Catherine Cookson sat for Peter in the 1980s when he completed a series of drawings and sketches for her. More recently North-East crime novelist, Ann Cleeves, chose one of Peter’s paintings of a shipyard worker as her ‘Favourite Painting’ in Country Life magazine.

This is the first time that Peter’s paintings have been exhibited at The Word and many of the paintings in this exhibition have never been exhibited previously.

The exhibition is presented in association with Tynemouth Fine Art

About Peter Burns

Born in the village of Gilsland in 1944, Peter Burns served his apprenticeship at Swan Hunter Shipbuilders on the Tyne and spent his working life as a plater in the yards, where he gained much of the inspiration for his subject matter and character studies.

Although best known for his pictures of the shipyard workers, his interests are not just confined to paintings of the yards and he enjoys painting a wide range of subjects. Now retired, Peter continues to paint in his small loft studio at his home in Low Fell, Gateshead.

Peter will be on hand during the exhibition to discuss his work and share his experiences of the Tyne shipyards.

If you have a disability of any kind or you require special assistance, please contact us on 0191 427 1818.