Margaret Shields was born and brought up in Middlesbrough and has lived in the Tees Valley for most of her life. She developed a love of drawing and painting from a young age and went on to study at Middlesbrough College of Art. After three years in London, studying at the Royal Academy of Music, Margaret returned to Middlesbrough. She painted local, urban scenes during the daytime and taught piano in the evenings. She also worked as a freelance graphic designer, as a designer of costume and sets for theatre, and was commissioned to paint murals and pieces for local organisations.
Margaret painted many places in her hometown of Middlesbrough, simply because she knew them so well, often including local people who happened to be part of the passing scene. In 1985 she moved to Saltburn-on-Sea. For the first time, her paintings began to focus on the sea, including beach scenes and passing ships. However, she continued to paint Middlesbrough until 2016 and her considerable body of work reflects more than a generation of significant change in the area, including the demolition of many of the old historic buildings in central Middlesbrough in the 1970s.
This painting shows a bus outside a hotel called the Star and Garter in Middlesbrough, which was on Marton Road. The Middlesbrough Archives building (previously the Central Post Office) has survived, but many Victorian buildings on the road, including the hotel were demolished to make way for the building of the A66.
Margaret has had a long and successful career. During this time, her style has developed and changed but the subject matter remains close to her everyday life. She continues to paint professionally from her home in Saltburn.
A photograph of the ground floor of the now demolished hotel featured in this painting can be viewed here
Our Tees Valley Museums Local Art and Artists: Activities is available to download here
Image courtesy of Preston Park Museum & Grounds, Stockton Borough Council