The spirt of Newcastle’s iconic River Tyne has inspired striking new art for an historic building on the city’s beautiful Quayside.
Dere Street Barristers wanted artworks for its new arbitration, mediation and conferencing suite in Chambers at Broad Chare, near the beautiful river.
The firm approached Newcastle University’s highly rated Fine Art Department for help late last year. They wanted pieces which captured ‘The Spirit of the Tyne’ and which would provide an impressive backdrop in the new suite.
After a competitive selection process, a panel of staff and barristers from the chambers awarded the commission to Jack Whitwell, Oliver Hoffmeister and Harry Pickup, who are all studying for degrees in fine art.
Crispin Oliver, Barrister, who chaired the selection panel said:
“It has been a real inspiration to see how these young artists have taken the brief we provided and projected their thoughts and feelings into it.  The quality of the works is obvious, but the X-factor, if you like, has been the sheer imagination they have brought to it, combined with the techniques they have used.”
Harry Pickup has produced a series of four prints using a combination of laser technology and 19th century printing techniques.
“For the Dere Street commission I have created a series of four woodcuts that depict the various colours seen throughout the day on the River Tyne – morning, midday, evening and night,” he said.
“It has been a great experience to work with Dere Street as it has given me the opportunity to exhibit my prints in a permanent location and to introduce my work to a new audience.”
Oliver Hoffmeister has produced a large oil on canvass, in monochrome, of a detail during the construction of the Tyne Bridge.
He said: “The opportunity to further my practice, within a professional setting, outside of the university sphere, has given me a great amount of confidence going forward into the immediate future.”
Jack Whitwell has produced four large prints from copper plate etchings using a technique and materials of his own invention based upon technology originally invented by Joseph Swann, the celebrated 19th century Newcastle industrialist and inventor.
David Butler, a senior lecturer in the University’s Fine Art department and coordinator of the LifeWorkArt professional programme which builds students’ experience and abilities in preparation for graduation, added:
“This is a great opportunity for these artists right at the point of their graduation. It reflects the value the University places on partnerships like this.”