In this decade I became increasingly involved with the community of the town of Wolverhampton and with the community of youngish artists in Birmingham who formed Birmingham Artists Group (BAG, which was disbanded in 1996). BAG also formed the Birmingham Print Workshop, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2013, now renamed as ‘Birmingham Printmakers’.
In 1985 Wolverhampton celebrated its millennium. At that time, the town seemed to me to lack pride in its Victorian townscape, being almost entirely bereft of commercially available representations of its architecture or of its fine public sculpture. As the frenzy around the Millennial event grew, I decided to make a series of hand-finished prints of four public artworks: the Saxon column, believed to be carved from a Roman column, the equestrian memorial sculpture of Prince Albert, unveiled by Queen Victoria in 1862, Sir Mortimer Wheeler’s statue of Lady Wulfrun, and a large mosaic at the shoppers’ entrance to the Wulfrun Centre, depicting the town’s foundation by Royal Charter presented to Lady Wulfrun in 985 AD.
Towards the end of 1985, the town’s Tourist Information centre asked me what I was planning for them for the next year, and I turned my attention to outstanding buildings in the Borough (nowadays City) of Wolverhampton. Thus began a new series of topographical prints on white card which I hand-finished in watercolour. A few accused me of ‘prostituting my art’, but I justified these projects as a valid response by an artist to the needs of his community.
including the mouldering Queen’s Building of the early railway and the boarded up “Molineux Hotel”.