Famed Sheffield artists Joe Scarborough will be talking about his life at a special event in the Rotherham stately home which stars in his latest painting.
Joe, 82, has stamped his inimitable style on a glorious, action-packed oil painting to help Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT) with its fundraising.
He will take part in a Q&A at the house with the Trust’s chair, Dame Julie Kenny, on Friday September 18, a date rescheduled from September 11.
In line with Government COVID-19 regulations, guests are required to wear face masks and only book tickets for people in their social bubble.
The evening event for up to 50 will be held in the Long Gallery and seating will be carefully arranged, ensuring only those in the same social bubble are near to each other.
Joe’s bold, joyful paintings of Yorkshire life have become instantly recognisable. He began painting professionally after leaving his job underground at Thorpe Hesley Colliery – he saw Wentworth Woodhouse in the distance every day on his way to the pit’s bath house.
“I knew it as the Big House and admired it on my way to the pit bath house. I never thought I’d ever step inside it, let alone be asked to paint it,” said Joe.
“I was honoured to be asked by Dame Julie and having seen it all those years ago, was struck by how circuitous life can be. Julie invited me to the house and I was overwhelmed by its beauty and flooded with ideas.
“I wanted the painting to span several decades and show the life and times that have gone on there.
“I hope fans of the house don’t mind, but I rearranged things a bit – I moved the great chandelier into the Marble Saloon, where a wonderful ball is happening, and took down a wall of the house down to reveal the action inside.”
Outside, a line of guards from the Marquis’s own regiment and a procession of cars through the ages are arriving… including the early 1900s Sheffield Simplex which Earl Fitzwilliam funded, and those of King George and Queen Mary, who stayed at the house in 1912.
In the background, the Gate House, Stables, Camellia House and monuments can be seen, along with Lady Mabel College students and cricketers on the Wentworth Green,
Right in the centre of the picture is Dame Julie.
“I couldn’t leave her out – she is in the entrance to the Marble Saloon, wearing the pale blue outfit she wore to Buckingham Palace to receive her Damehood,” said Joe, who spent almost four months on the work, which currently hangs at Julie’s home.
She plans to loan it to the house and a special place has been earmarked for when it opens again later in the year (Government Covid-9 restrictions permitting).
“It’s a wonderful artwork in Joe’s inimitable style. He was enthralled with the house and so much of its history is featured. It really tells the story,” said Dame Julie.
“One of our volunteers suggested the idea at a fundraising meeting. I thought it would be lovely to have a new painting of the place and a great way to raise money. Lockdown has badly affected our income and this is a new way for people who love the house to support us,” added Julie.
Limited edition prints of Joe’s painting of Wentworth Woodhouse, which was commissioned by Dame Julie, will be on sale on night.