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Oliver Kilbourn (1904–1993) is best known for his acclaimed paintings of his work underground in the coal mines of the Ashington area of Northumberland. He was a member of the Ashington Group of painters which met from 1934 until 1984 and many of his works can now be seen at Woodhorn Museum.

Kilbourn’s work extended beyond mining scenes and included many depictions of life in the local community. It is perhaps less well known that he produced a set of 12 paintings specifically for the new Ashington Library, opened in 1966. Mrs Kilbourn was librarian at Ashington and took great pride in her husband’s work.

The 12 paintings, all of which are signed, depict or represent British birds, British mammals, seabirds and the seashore, dinosaurs, prehistoric life, Anglo-Saxons, Romans, Normans, Elizabethans, galleys, ships and a snow scene.

For over 40 years the paintings have given great pleasure to junior library users and library staff and remind visitors to the library of Mr and Mrs Kilbourn’s enthusiasm for art and wish to encourage local children to read widely and to follow a wide range of interests.

Carolyn Earlam, Northumberland, Tees Valley & Tyne and Wear Coordinator for The Public Catalogue Foundation

Text source: PCF / Northumberland County Council Libraries

This description was originally written for a catalogue.

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