School Playground

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 7.7 x 10.6 ins/ 19.5 x 27 ms
SIGNATURE: Signed lower right
MEDIUM: Pastel on Paper


Catalogue No: 5351 Category:

Like with the majority of his oeuvre, in School Playground Shields has created a very atmospheric work. Using a simple palette of grey, white, brown and black has recreated the dull, cold ambient light of a winter’s day and the fogginess of the industrial North.

As is typical with the artist, all of the action unfolds along the horizontal of the painting, distorting any sense of natural perspective, a technique which he used often. This concentrates the viewer’s eyes on the children playing in the foreground, a memory of Shields’ childhood.


Gifted to the previous owner circa 1984;
Private Collection, United Kingdom

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Brian Shields was a British artist, born in Liverpool in 1951 and is best known for his scenes of northern Britain. His paintings are based on childhood memories of Liverpool and he would frequently paint himself into his works as a boy in a striped jumper and wellies. Shields acquired his nickname ‘Braaq’ at school due to his early artistic talent and was the result of a misspelling of the French artist and father of Cubism, Georges Braque.
The fourth child of twelve, Brian’s father Dennis Shields was an established artist and one of his brothers, also Dennis, is a sculptor and painter. In the late 1970s, Brian’s sister Ann died aged 20 and in memory of her his subsequent paintings were signed with his signature followed by Ann.
After initially training as a chef in Harrogate, the majority of Brian’s working life spent there. He was discovered when his murals in the hotel he was working in caused a stir in the community and for weeks afterward there was a search in the local papers to find the identity of the artist. From this point on his artistic career flourished with his first exhibition in 1974. In 1977 Brian was invited to hold four exhibitions in London and was described by The Times as “one of the six most successful artists in England”.

If the artwork is up to £25,00 in value, and the artist is still alive, Trinity House can arrange a 0% interest loan through the Own Art scheme. Own Art is a Creative United initiative supported by Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Some other restrictions apply see…

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