‘From the Mill to the Front’: Eric Lockrane’s Final Work

14/08/2014 @ 10:00 am – 03/10/2014 @ 4:00 pm
Foxlowe Arts Centre (Heritage Centre, 1st floor)
Market Place
Leek, Staffordshire ST13 6AD

Eric Lockrane 1942 – 2007

DSC_7867-Painting no 3Eric Lockrane was a mature student at Colchester School of Art in the early 1960s after being invalided out of the RAF. On the staff at that time were Edward Bawden and John Nash who was of course a war artist in both world wars.

A great draughtsman, Eric had the knack of finding the graphic elements in everything he drew and photographed. He was accepted into the Royal College as an illustration student but ever the maverick, he started to use the College’s dark rooms and left prematurely to pursue a career as a photojournalist. In this he was very successful. He became the protege of Bruce Bernard at the Sunday Times Colour Magazine and worked very hard producing some stunning images.

He also freelanced widely and produced memorable images from the famous Grosvenor Square demonstrations and wonderful shots taken during the work-in occupation of the Clydeside shipyards.

DSC_7913- Painting no 1Eric was not a business man and the difficulties of freelance photography as a way of life, combined with his creative and challenging disposition, brought about a further change of direction and he returned to illustration, producing telling and witty illustrative pieces that were immediately snapped up by various magazines including New Society, Ink, and the OP Ed pages of broadsheet newspapers. He won a Sunday Times political illustration competition and this success helped Eric move on to gain the position of Senior Lecturer and Head of Illustration at North Staffordshire Polytechnic, now Staffordshire University, where he went on to be a generous and inspirational teacher to many students over his 21 year tenure.

DSC_7907- painting no 2He continued to draw and paint and to play jazz but at the same time he had to deal with a number of health problems, repercussions from the injuries he had sustained in the RAF. Early in his teaching career Eric had embarked on some large scale water colour illustrations, paintings really, which were later seen by an art director who was looking for an artist to illustrate a text about young, even under-age, boys volunteering for service in WW1. This was a fictional story but based on events which actually happened. Eric was immediately drawn to the project and set about producing large numbers of preparatory drawings, filling numerous sketchbooks with his ideas and research.

The project was unfinished at the time of his death.

(With many thanks to Rod Shone.)


Please note that the exhibition is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

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