Svg patterns

Discover the life and work of lithographic artist Lawrence Gleadle. See some of his original posters, alongside prints of others, and learn the stories behind them; how they were lost, found and restored, and their importance and place in British cinema history. The exhibition also explores the stories behind Netherfield printing company Stafford & Co. and the printing process of the 1920s and 1930s.,

Lawrence Gleadle was a lithographic artist for Stafford & Co. in the 1920’s and 1930’s; at the time the largest printer of posters in England. After a long apprenticeship and years of experience, Lawrence became ‘The Big Head Man’, the artist who drew the portraits of cinema stars and advertising characters. It was a title given to him by other artists, of which he was very proud, as the ‘Big Head Man’ was regarded as the most skilled of the artists.

He kept samples of his work but left in WW2 and never returned to the trade. The posters were put away and forgotten for many years until given to his son Godfrey (Goff) Gleadle in the early 1980s. At that time, it was very difficult to find out about or reproduce the posters and it wasn’t until 2015 that Goff was able to identify, date them and scan them onto computer files so prints could be made.

Kendal James, a Portsmouth artist, was able to repair and restore damage on the computer files. She and Goff teamed up with the aim of getting Lawrence’s work and talent recognised. Together they have held successful exhibitions in and around Portsmouth where they live, and even had a piece on the BBC One Show.

However, Lawrence was a Nottingham man and it is very much a Nottingham story, so it has always been an ambition to bring his story and his work back to Nottingham. It is particularly fitting to have this exhibition here at Nottingham Trent University, as before Lawrence began his apprenticeship aged 16, he attended the Nottingham Municipal School Of Art. The school later became known as the Nottingham College of Art, which is now part of Nottingham Trent University.

Work by Lawrence Gleadle

Curated by Godfrey Gleadle
In collaboration with Kendal James