The above painting measures 70cm by 100cm, using acrylic on board.
A grant of £1,000 was awarded to Hartlepool Art Gallery/Hartlepool Borough Council towards this acquisition; a larger contribution was made by the Art Fund, Small Acquisitions.
The painting initially appears to be photorealistic in style; from a distance it looks like a photograph, but when viewed more closely the illusion gives way to a looser handling of paint, with more gestural treatments. It is a contemporary reflection on the 1914 Bombardment of the Hartlepools (so named before the late 19th century merger of Hartlepool and West Hartlepool). It shows the site – in Hartlepool’s Headland – where Private Theophilus Jones, of Durham Light Infantry Regiment, was killed, on 16 December, 1914, during the German Navy bombardment of the town. Private Jones was the first military casualty killed on British soil during the Great War (1914-18). The painting is also a homage to the 1915 painting by James Clark, ‘The Bombardment of the Hartlepools’, which hangs in the Museum of Hartlepool. The Narbi Price painting is thus a reflection on the tragic events of the time and marks an important and poignant moment in Hartlepool’s history.
Hartlepool-born Narbi Price created this work specifically for the exhibition, titled Century, which he curated for Hartlepool Art Gallery, to mark 100 years of art, culture and history in Hartlepool, and the opening of Gray Art Gallery, where Narbi had his earliest formative artistic experiences, and which later merged with Hartlepool Art Gallery. The exhibition includes key pieces from the Gallery’s collection, and is one of several events organised to celebrate the Centenary.
The exhibition and related events were due to take place in 2020, but postponed due to the pandemic. The ‘Promenade Painting’ will remain on display until April, 2021, after which it will be used by the Learning Team and displayed in future exhibitions; discussions are underway to have it displayed on a permanent basis.