News & Insights

Northern Art: Stuart Walton

19th January 2023. By Francesca Young

Stuart Walton

Born in 1933 in the West Yorkshire town of Dewsbury, Stuart Walton is an award-winning artist best known for his paintings of northern industrial landscapes in Leeds, Salford, and surrounding Yorkshire towns. 

After completing his National Service in the Royal Air Force in 1954, Walton became very interested in abstract expressionism, influenced by American artists of the period such as Franz Kline and Jackson Pollock. Walton started his career painting industrial landscapes in the late 1960s, alongside more hard-edged painting and construction. During this prolific period, he was also working as a sign writer in Leeds. Despite having no formal art training, he gave up his paid employment to pursue painting full-time in 1970. 

Having established his name, exhibiting in both the north and London, Walton started producing figurative pieces, mainly of street scenes of the northern industrial cities. Having grown up in that environment, he painted it with great affection and insight, shedding light onto the rapidly disappearing cobbled streets, lines of terraced houses, and yards in cities of the North.

In 1972, Walton was named the inaugural Yorkshire Television Fine Arts Fellow, and went on to exhibit his paintings in many solo exhibitions and open exhibitions, showcasing both his northern industrial and abstract works. From 1990 to 2013 he returned to his first love, abstract painting. The works he produced during this era are a result of his interest in mass media, after which he returned to painting street scenes until his retirement in 2019.  

Walton’s work proves to grow in popularity amongst Yorkshire collectors and is now firmly within the canon of great northern artists, from L.S Lowry to Norman Cornish, all of whom devote study for capturing landscapes of northern England in a gritty, honest, and nostalgic manner.

A small group of interesting works by Walton, including abstracts, are to be included in the Modern & Contemporary Art Sale on 4th March. Highlights include 'Hunslet, Leeds' (estimate: £800-1,200 plus buyer's premium), 'Back Brunswick, Leeds' (estimate: £500-800 plus buyer's premium), and 'High Yellow' (estimate: £150-250 plus buyer's premium). 

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