Great North Museum, Hancock

Mural Hancock Museum

Alan Reed & Mural at Hancock Museum 1984

April 26th will see a return for me to the Great North Museum, Hancock for the Tait Walker Art Exhibition in support of the Tiny Lives Fund.

It will a trip down memory lane for me as I used to work part time at the Hancock Museum 1983-1984 as part of the design team which worked on the various displays. The main project that we worked on was the backdrop to Abel’s Ark, a large wooden ark which had the heads of various big game animals which Abel Chapman, a local businessman and skilled artist who had a passion for hunting and natural history. He had amassed a significant collection of animals which he left in his will to the Hancock Museum when he died in 1929. For many years these heads had been shown in rather traditional glass display cases but it was decided back in the early 1980’s to have the heads sticking out of the portholes of the newly built Abel’s Ark. That way, visiting children would naturally assume that the rest of the animal was inside the ark.

I spent several weeks coming up with a design for the mural which was a jungle book scene painted with emulsion paints. As part of my research I even went to the cinema to see a showing of Walt Disney’s Jungle Book. Not long after the contract finished to paint the mural, I decided to go full time as a self employed artist and the rest, as they say, is history.

The next item of text is taken from the flier produced by Tait Walker to promote the event:

On Thursday 26th April, Tait Walker are holding an exhibition of work from around twenty local artists and photographers at The Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle. Tickets are £10, which includes nibbles and a welcome drink at 7pm.  Throughout the evening, there will be the chance to buy the paintings and photographs, as well as a silent auction and raffle being held.  The caricaturist, John Coward, will also be available to draw you a personal memento of the evening!

The event is part of the Tait Walker 75 Years fundraising calendar, where we are aiming to raise £75,000 for local charities.  All proceeds from the night, including a percentage of picture sales, will go to Tiny Lives – a charity for special care babies based at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Tickets can be purchased by calling Claire Blake on 0191 285 0321.  If you aren’t able to make the event, but would like to make a donation, we have set up a Just Giving page at


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About alan

British artist Alan Reed, was born in Corbridge in the North of England into a family with a history of painting. "I have been passionate about painting all my life and committed to helping others through my paintings". Alan trained as an illustrator / graphic designer in the North of England and spent the early part of his career doing artist impressions of new building projects for architects. Alan Reed specialises in landscapes, cityscapes and portraits both in watercolours and oils. His unique, fluid style captures the atmosphere of different settings from the drama of city life to the serenity and beauty of a rural landscape. Alan Reed has had many successful exhibitions both in the UK and abroad including those at the Mall Galleries in London, Malcolm Innes Gallery in Edinburgh, Italy, the USA and the Middle East and has been a regular exhibitor of rowing scenes in the Stewards’ Enclosure at the Henley Royal Regatta. 2013 Winner of "The Artist's Prize" in the Royal Watercolour Society Competition 2013 with his painting "Jebel Akhdar, Oman". The painting was exhibited at the Bankside Gallery, London.   2011 Alan Reed - Winner of the "Circus Painting Prize" in the Bath Prize. Alan Reed's painting of  “Pump Room in the Snow” was highly commended in the Bath Prize. 2011 Alan Reed - One of the finals with his painting of "Grey Street" in the "Show me the Monet" programme shown on BBC2. 2010 Alan Reed - 1st runner up in "The Bath Prize" with his original painting of "The Royal Crescent, Bath". Alan Reed's painting of the "The Roman Baths by Torchlight" was also highly commended in the Bath Prize. Artist Alan Reed's approach to painting is described in a book
entitled "Landscapes in Watercolour" by Theodora Philcox, an inspirational book which features the work of 23 leading watercolourists from around the world. The Middle East is an area to which Alan has given his artistic attention thanks to a series of ongoing commissions for the government of Oman. Alan’s work has become increasingly collectable and is widely represented internationally through private and corporate commissions including those for Royalty, Coutts Bank, Rolls Royce, Northern Rock PLC, several client’s private and corporate properties both in the UK and worldwide. We supply to Interior designers, Cruise ships, Corporate companies and galleries providing the perfect solution to meet all your needs. Portraits, Gift Vouchers, Sherree V-Daines, Sketchbook, Reviews, Painting Tips and Paintings for the Queen Worldwide Shipping