Glynn Porteous (1935 – 2003) was a Middlesbrough-born artist who lived and worked in the town. His keen interest in art was discovered at school, where he was encouraged to study at Middlesbrough College of Art. After four years there, he was accepted at the prestigious Slade School of Art in London – the only Middlesbrough student to be accepted that year.
After working as a commercial artist in London and Chester, Glynn returned to Middlesbrough. Here he worked as an artist and model-maker for the local authority before retiring to open a gallery on Linthorpe Road with his wife Rene. Glynn enjoyed sculpture and model-making, but his first love was painting which he continued to do throughout his life.
Porteous’s paintings were inspired by everyday life, by his family, local places and the people he encountered. His work often reflected his famous humour and affection for his fellow Teessiders (Shaving Mug, for example, focuses on a man publicly shaving at the table of a café). Those familiar with his murals in the underpass near Wilson Street will recognise his depictions of local scenes and landmarks, such as Roseberry Topping and the Transporter Bridge.
This painting – Travelling Companions – shows two sisters travelling on a local train, inspired by the local area and by a similar scene painted nearly 150 years ago by artist Leopold Egg. Glynn’s wife Rene takes up the story:
“This is a beautiful painting and in such contrast to the elegance of the young girls in Eggs’ painting; total disregard for etiquette – feet up on seats, smoking in a no smoking carriage, rubbish thrown on the floor… So much went into the preparation for this; lots and lots of photography, getting the positions right (our niece agreed to be a model), trips to Redcar, taking pictures on the train, walking to the Ship Inn at Marske, then relaxing with a drink of beer and crisps, getting somewhat tipsy, walking back along the beach to Redcar, laughing and stumbling along.”
Glynn Porteous died in 2003, but Rene still promotes his work and offers tours of their house which has become a museum to his life as an artist. Like her husband, she is keen to inspire young artists in the area.
Find out more about Glynn Porteous and see more of his work here
See the original ‘Travelling Companions’ painted by Leopold Egg here at Art UK
Our Tees Valley Museums Local Art and Artists: Activities is available to download here
Image courtesy of Redcar and Cleveland Council (Kirkleatham Museum)