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John Smith Willock (1887-1976)


Café Society,


oil on canvas,

16 x 20 inches



Click on image to view larger versions

Willock employs his highly distinctive style to depict this vibrant scene, the paint sculpted into flamboyant swirls and peaks. The caricatured appearance of the figures very much brings to mind Edward Ardizzone's bar scenes.

John Smith Willock was born in Weaste, Lancashire. He obtained a scholarship to study at the Municipal School of Arts, All Saints, Manchester and subsequently went on to become a pupil teacher at Oldham School of Art. He was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Art but at the outbreak of the First World War he joined up and served in France, thereby missing this opportunity. On his return, he took up a teaching career, ultimately becoming head of design at the Manchester School of Art.

He exhibited extensively during his lifetime at the New English Art Club, the Walker Art Gallery, The Atkinson Art Gallery and the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts. His work is in the collection of Manchester City Art Gallery which you can see here: ArtUk

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