A View of the Landscape

Art of the Waterways: NarrowBoat, Spring 2007

Brian Collings

Canal artist Brian Collins looks at the curious tradition of painting castles on, and in, narrowboats

Ihave had a lifelong interest in boat decoration, and have tried to help to preserve – and provide an understanding of – the art form within its social context. Much has been published on the subject, but I have always taken the practical rather than academic approach. I first became aware of the art form from fine examples which emanated from boat docks at Leighton Buzzard and Braunston, and it was here that I learnt to paint by observing the professionals. Among my own early efforts were a plaque for the Boat Inn at Stoke Bruerne and an enamel jug for Jack James, ex-boatman and at that time lock-keeper. It was his initiative which led to the establishment in 1963 of the Waterways Museum at Stoke Bruerne. In 1989, with much soul-searching, I responded to public interest by arranging what proved to be the first of many weekend painting courses at the Museum. Whilst it fell within the remit of a museum, I had to ask myself just who was I to say what was ‘right’ …

To read the full article…

…you need to be a subscriber to NarrowBoat. If you are, you can login here. If not, you can buy a subscription here . If you are having trouble logging in, please contact support at subscriptions@wwonline.co.uk.

A View of the Landscape  featured image