This painting was done by Walter Kershaw originally for the film “Stranger than Fiction” in around 1985. Kershaw is mural painter, from Rochdale, known for his large scale paintings. The painting is based on this photograph by Humphrey Spender, which we have been using in promotional material for the Worktown 75th Birthday exhibition at Bolton Museum.
This is probably the most iconic Worktown photograph, summing up visually what Mass Observation was about, certainly to Spender. It is also kind of textbook street photography- find an interesting sign and wait for the moment. Of course Spender was one of those writing the textbook.
The painting makes a stunning opener to the show. It was very kindly loaned to us by Ian Potts and his wife Jill who respectively directed and produced “Stranger than Fiction” which we are showing in the Museum’s lecture theatre on the 6th October. They brought it up for us on the day of the exhibition preview on their roof rack- not the typical museum transportation method. It gave us that all important oh my god what the hell are we going to do last minute exhibition rush. Here we are 30 minutes before the doors of the exhibition open, honestly not stressed at all!