As a model for the painting, local policeman Bill Brayshaw found fame as the snoozing art gallery attendant on the front cover of the magazine 'John Bull' in 1947.
Harry Rutherford enjoyed using local people as his models, none more so than Bill Brayshaw. According to Harry, Bill was the perfect model as after one pint he fell fast asleep and therefore didn’t move whilst Harry painted him in various guises. His role as a sleeping gallery attendant was his first. There is a bit of a mystery about the background of the painting: on the 'John Bull' cover, Bill is clearly asleep in front of an abstract painting, but in the version here, Bill is asleep in front of a landscape with greenery and red houses. One answer is that Harry later painted in one of his own works instead of the abstract piece as a pun.
Where to see this painting?
The Rutherford Gallery
Central Art Gallery
Old Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, England, OL6 7SG
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.