Higgins, Lloyd George

Born 1912 in Mossley near Manchester. Was the first person to win a prestigious scholarship to the Royal College of Art at Salford and in his late teens won many newspaper and magazine prizes. In 1931 was awarded the first prize in a Royal Society of Arts Exhibition for poster design. Following his training in Salford he received a First Class Diploma from the Royal Society for Industrial Design which effectively launched his career as a textile designer.

In his late forties, along with a partner, he established a printing works renowned for hand silk screen printing of furnishing fabrics, utilizing his own designs but the business failed to flourish due to the increasing prevalence of man-made fibres.

Following the family's move to Todmorden in 1956, he achieved another ambition in teaching which he continued for twenty years. During which time his creative style diversified using a wide variety of mediums and techniques. There followed a period of work which harnessed his design skills and produced strikingly original paintings reflecting his fascination in linking the past with the present and occasionally the future. The decline of the mills encouraged him to return to one of his 1940's archetypal styles to satisfy his wish to record the spirited life of the Northern people; whence he began to produce his expressive figure drawings of the Northern Scene which were to attract such widespread recognition.

In the early 1970's the increasing popularity of Ls Lowry's work aroused public interest in his work which depicted similar scenes. He was greatly encouraged by Lowry's interest in his work who had, several decades earlier commented favourably on his early art college endeavours, and had encouraged him to continue developing his skills. In comparing the two artists, it is immediately obvious that both were stimulated by the industrial landscape, but there the comparison abruptly ends. In case of Lowry's sombre portrayals, Higgins expressed the day-to-day life of the Lancashire/Yorkshire textile workers in an astute yet affectionate manner that uniquely captures the humour of Northern folk. The little people are angular, chirpy characters, very nearly cartoons, at which you smile gently rather than laugh.

The composition of these pictures was fashioned from a rich distillation of his personal observations, local environment, world events, and a deep perception of human nature. Locally he became a well known character, always out and about sketching; he was prone to seize any opportunity to sketch an interesting situation, even on the back of an envelope or restaurant menu.

Having moved to Burnley in 1978, he continued to exhibit in the principal galleries of the North (including Manchester Academy of Fine Arts and Salford Art Gallery) as well as in London and Paris. His sudden death at Christmas in 1980 has left a legacy of unique paintings, the admiration of which brought him such happiness during his lifetime. In deed the greatest compliment he could be paid was for people to wish to have one of his paintings in their home.

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