Theodore Major 1908-1999

Theodore Major was born in humble circumstances in Wigan, Lancashire, settling there from 1950 with his painter wife, Kathleen at Appley Bridge. He attended the local art school between 1927-1932, and taught there between 1930-1950.Major was a fervent Lancastrian, he was against materialism, the commercial gallery system and the sale of his pictures to rich collectors.

He retained about 3000 of his pictures which he said were painted for ordinary people, not money. Art critic John Berger called Major's pictures "among the best English paintings of our time" He painted in a wide range of styles "to disturb and extend consciousness in the mind of the viewer".

He was president of the Wigan Art Club which he founded in 1952. He exhibited in Nottingham, Bolton, Manchester and had Arts Council sponsored solo exhibitions at Carlisle and Blackburn Art Galleries and in 1984 at Salford Art Gallery which holds his work.

His paintings are now being discovered and admired by art collectors, particularly his vibrant flower pieces and his powerful industrial scenes.

Major retrospective of his work were held at Salford Museum and Art Gallery in 2003 and Gallery Oldham in 2008.

Major Timeline

THEODORE MAJOR - BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

1908
Born in Wigan, one of seven children. Parents both worked in a cotton mill.

1921
Left school to work in a tailors shop. Deteriorating health.

1925
Had already suffered three bouts of rheumatic fever., no longer able to work. Began to study at art school in the evenings.

1927
Full time study at Wigan Art School. Also attended classes at Liverpool and Southport Art School. Experimented with many artistic techniques and produced abstract work.

1929
Took up a teaching post at Wigan Art School after completion of studies, awarded Governor's medal for best student.

1939
Declared medically unfit for war service.

1940
Married Kathleen Ainscow, whom he had met at Wigan School of Art.

1941
Homeless, when asked to leave the flat they rented. Lived with Kathleen's parents in Wigan. Theo had a garret room in which to paint.

1944
Daughter Mary born. Contributed works to the Northern Artists Exhibition at Manchester City Art Gallery. Developed his
ideas for helping children with their artwork. Began The Major School which
involved Saturday classes at home for youngsters and organised exhibitions.

1945
Exhibited alongside Margo Ingham at Manchester Ballet Club.

1946
Manchester Group formed and first exhibition at Mid-day Studios. Major an enthusiastic member.

1947
One day exhibition at Mid-day Studios. Two paintings unexpectedly accepted for Manchester Academy. Member of Society of Modern Painters and exhibited five paintings with them.

1948
Further one man show for the Mid-day Studios. His painting Kippers was included in the summer exhibition of the Redfern Gallery in London alongside works by Picasso and Henry Moore.

1950
Moved to Appley Bridge where he would live for the rest of his life. Exhibited at the Manchester Academy. Exhibition in Carlisle sponsored by the Arts Council. One man show at the Mid-day Studios.

1951
The Mid-day Studios closed due to financial problems. Exhibition Two Lancashire Painters sponsored by Arts Council featured Lowry and Major and was held for two months at Bolton Art Gallery. Became member of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts. Short spell in London producing cartoons for the Daily Mail.

1952
Exhibited with the Manchester Group at Manchester City Art Gallery, organised by Margo Ingham. One man show at Peel Park, Salford. Founded the Wigan Art Club, which met above a pub called the Crofters Arms.

1953
Painters Progress an exhibition of the Manchester Group at Peel Park Salford.

1954
Major showed with twenty artists who formed the Lancashire Group of Artists. His Old Woman from Wigan is included in Arts Council Life in Industry exhibition. Founded The North West Federation of Art Societies (NWFAS)

1955
Exhibited in Artists with North Country Associations at Manchester City Art Gallery.

1956
Resigned from the NWFAS. Gradual withdrawal from the art world, but painted with intensity.

1958
Shared exhibition with the Crane Gallery in Manchester.

1961
Exhibited at the Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield. His important series The Cruxifiction of Mankind dealt with the consequences of atomic warfare.

1964
Exhibited 39 works at a jewellery firm in Bolton. Critical acclaim from the Daily Telegraph. Had the opening exhibition of the Mercury Gallery, Cork Street, London.

1966
Exhibition at the Stone Gallery, Newcastle with others in The Ambience of the North1967
Exhibition of industrial scenes at the Tibb Lane gallery, Manchester.

1969
One-man show at The Playhouse Gallery, Preston.

1971
Exhibited at the unfinished Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. His Head of Christ much admired.

1978
Kathleen Major died.

1980
One man show at the Turnpike Gallery, Leigh.

1984
Exhibition at Salford Art Gallery, Peel Park, Salford

1999
Died peacefully in Ormskirk Royal Infirmary.

2003
Retrospective exhibition held at Salford Art Gallery, Peel Park

2006
Major exhibition held at Clark Art Ltd, Hale

2008
Retrospective exhibition held at Gallery Oldham



Click on pictures for large images and details

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Theodore Major - A Woman

Theodore Major

A Woman

Oil on Board

30 x 24 ins (76.20 x 60.96 cms)

P.O.A.

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Theodore Major - Farm at Appley Bridge

Theodore Major

Farm at Appley Bridge

Oil on Board

30 x 37 ins (76.20 x 93.98 cms)

Price: £29,500.00

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Theodore Major - Figure in an Industrial Landscape

Oil on Board

30 x 37 ins (76.20 x 93.98 cms)

P.O.A.

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Theodore Major - Head of a Woman

Theodore Major

Head of a Woman

Oil on Board

30 x 24 ins (76.20 x 60.96 cms)

Price: £9,750.00

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Theodore Major - Houses In The Snow Wigan

Theodore Major

Houses In The Snow Wigan

Oil on Board

30 x 37 ins (76.20 x 93.98 cms)

P.O.A.

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Theodore Major - Industrial Landscape With Chimney and Telegraph Pole

Oil on Board

30 x 37 ins (76.20 x 93.98 cms)

P.O.A.

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Theodore Major - Men and Sky

Theodore Major

Men and Sky

Oil on Board

30 x 37 ins (76.20 x 93.98 cms)

P.O.A.

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Theodore Major - Pink Sun

Theodore Major

Pink Sun

Oil on Board

12¾ x 15 ins (32.39 x 38.10 cms)

P.O.A.

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Theodore Major - Red Dancing Nude with Flowers

Oil on Board

60 x 48 ins (152.40 x 121.92 cms)

P.O.A.

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Theodore Major - Roses

Theodore Major

Roses

Oil on Board

25 x 30 ins (63.50 x 76.20 cms)

Price: £13,000.00

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Theodore Major - Standing Figures and Telegraph Poles

Oil on Board

30 x 37 ins (76.20 x 93.98 cms)

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Theodore Major - Telegraph Pole and Church Wigan

Oil on Board

12 x 15 ins (30.48 x 38.10 cms)

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Theodore Major - The Storm

Theodore Major

The Storm

Oil on Board

12 x 15 ins (30.48 x 38.10 cms)

P.O.A.

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Theodore Major - Three Telegraph Poles

Theodore Major

Three Telegraph Poles

Oil on Board

30 x 37 ins (76.20 x 93.98 cms)

P.O.A.

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Theodore Major - Vision Splendid

Theodore Major

Vision Splendid

8½ x 11½ ins (21.59 x 29.21 cms)

Price: £35.00

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Theodore Major - Wigan Landscape with Chimneys

Oil on Board

10 x 12 ins (25.40 x 30.48 cms)

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Theodore Major - Winter Landscape

Theodore Major

Winter Landscape

Oil on Board

12¼ x 14¾ ins (31.12 x 37.47 cms)

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General Information

Opening Times
Tues - Sat 10.00am - 5.30 pm
All other times by appointment

Contact

Clark Art Ltd
155, Ashley Road, Hale
Cheshire, WA14 2UW

Tel: +44 (0)161 929 5150
Mobile: +44 (0)7973 755680
Email: art@clark-art.co.uk