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New Gallery Exhibition Offers a Picture of Tameside

Press Release: 07/05/2024

PaintingFROM rolling hills and windswept moorland, to bustling markets and industrial panoramas, Tameside’s towns, villages and countryside have inspired many generations of artists from Victorian times to the present day.

“A Picture of Tameside” – the new exhibition at the Astley Cheetham Art Gallery, Stalybridge, coincides with the 50th anniversary of the creation of Tameside as a metropolitan borough in 1974.

It features works from the council’s collection, and by some of the borough’s most eminent artists – including Harry Rutherford and Simeon Stafford – that explore varied landscapes and urban scenes.

Some of the earliest depictions of what is now Tameside show the houses and estates of the district’s land owners, such as Francis Dukinfield Astley. He lived a flamboyant and extravagant lifestyle at Dukinfield Lodge and Hunter’s Tower 200 years ago, but was a generous patron of art and culture.

The Industrial Revolution transformed the villages into towns where cotton spinning, iron working, hatting and coal mining employed thousands of people.

Although the art establishment of the time largely scorned scenes of northern industrial life, the Astley Cheetham collection includes several contemporary depictions of the district in the early 19th century.

Artists also captured the industrial decline that followed and the transformation of former industrial sites into areas of leisure and tourism. Canals have been cleared and Lees Iron Works at Park Bridge has been converted into a heritage park.

A Tameside Council spokesperson said: “Although many people think of Tameside as a collection of mill towns, those towns and villages are set among stunning countryside. There is rugged moorland, beautiful woodland, and the River Tame that brings them all together.

“It is a unique combination and one that is seen in beautiful detail in “A Picture of Tameside” the new exhibition at the Astley Cheetham Gallery in Stalybridge.”

“A Picture of Tameside” is open until Saturday June 15. The Astley Cheetham Art Gallery is on Trinity Street, Stalybridge, above the library. Its opening hours are: Mondays and Tuesdays, 9am to 1pm; Wednesdays, 1 to 5pm; Saturdays, 10am to 3pm.

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