A new exhibition featuring the work of the internationally famous artist George Bissill has opened at Erewash Museum this week – an exhibition that is a major coup for the borough.

“From the Pits to Paris” showcases the work of Bissell, who had strong links to the Ilkeston area, and who was known for his landscapes and figurative paintings and woodcuts. Some of his artworks are held by prominent public galleries, including the Tate.

The museum’s Lally Gallery pays tribute to the artist, who was sent down the mines at Langley Mill when he was 13 and who began displaying his early work with Ilkeston Arts Club. He eventually rose to celebrated artistic heights in Paris.

The exhibition includes work held by Erewash Museum and items from private collections including his original miners’ paintings, woodcuts, sketches, and the original drawing of the lost Heanor School Mural - which Bissill created but was then destroyed in 1928 on the grounds of indecency. His works are a sympathetic yet startling masculine examination of working lives, which made him a darling of the labour movement and a favourite of the cafés. He ended his career at the height of Parisian artistic fame.

Erewash Borough Council’s Lead Member for Community Engagement, Councillor Val Clare, says:

 “We expect this exhibition to be extremely popular and it is a major coup for our award winning museum. It is a fascinating journey through the works and life of this incredibly talented artist. We have lots to offer at Erewash Museum but to be able to showcase the works of George Bissill is a stunning boost.”

The Deputy Mayor of Erewash, Councillor John Sewell, and Erewash Borough Council’s Lead Member for Community Engagement Councillor Val Clare were among guests viewing the exhibition at its launch.

From the Pits to Paris: the works of George Bissill will be in the Lally Gallery at Erewash Museum until 19 November.