Celebration of one of Northampton's major artists

St Peter's Church, Weston Favell in 1933
St Peter's Church, Weston Favell in 1933

A new exhibition is set to mark the life of Thurston Laidlaw Shoosmith who gained an international reputation for his distinctive style of watercolour painting in the early 20th century.

Visitors are invited to take a look at his work, which will include more than 70 works of art by Mr. Shoosmith and 10 works associated with or inspired by the artist.

Author George Butlin said: “A review of the life and work of Thurston Laidlaw Shoosmith is long overdue. In the early years of the last century, he achieved an international reputation through published articles and London exhibitions, as well as dominating the arts scene in his hometown.

“His works sold for sums that were the equivalent of half a year’s wages for an agricultural worker of the time.

"He achieved this while practicing as a solicitor, and was also the town clerk. He influenced a future generation of Northamptonshire artists and I hope that the publication of my book, and the exhibition, will help future generations to appreciate his distinct, individual and subtle talent.”

Many of the works are scenes from Northampton and the surrounding area, which is a subject he turned to for inspiration.

Born in Northampton in 1865, Mr. Shoosmith was a leading figure in Northampton’s art scene of the time and became the first president of the Northampton Town and County Art Society.

The artist was educated at Northampton Grammar School before joining the firm of solicitors his father had established in the town that still practises today as the national law firm Shoosmiths which has kindly sponsored the exhibition.

The exhibition is the result of a new book by George Butlin, Thurston Laidlaw Shoosmith – A Reappraisal.

The book, which includes an essay by John McGowan, includes plates from a newly compiled database of the artist’s works.

A study day, to take a closer look at Shoosmith’s work, will take place on Saturday, November 19, from 10.15am to 4pm.

The exhibition, The Neglected Watercolourist – The Life and Work of TL Shoosmith, will run from Saturday, September 17 to Sunday, November 20 at Northampton Museum & Art Gallery. Entrance is free.

For more information about the exhibition and how to book for the study day, talks and workshops go to www.northampton.gov.uk/museums

Copies of Thurston Laidlaw Shoosmith – A Reappraisal, by George Butlin, will be available to buy at Northampton Museum & Art Gallery from Friday, September 16.