Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ken White

Last year an exhibition of Ken White’s work opened at The Post Modern, Theatre Square, Swindon to celebrate the artists' 70th birthday.

In the 1980s Swindon boasted a fine collection of Ken's murals - one at Cambria Bridge, the famous ‘Swindon Personalities’ in Union Street/Prospect Place, the King Class Locomotive Passing Through Swindon Railway Works at Henry Street, to name just a few. Sadly today just one mural now remains - the Golden Lion Bridge looking down Fleming Way.

And even more disgraceful is the fact that Swindon does not own a piece of Ken White’s art.  Now how on earth can that be?

In 2003 Advertiser journalist Shirley Mathias was asking exactly that question. Shirley wrote:

‘But the closest Ken has come to recognition by the borough was an invitation to hang two works in a display which is part of Think Art, an event sponsored by the borough’s Swindon Arts project together with, among other supporters, Nationwide, Westfield who own the Brunel Centre, and the University of Bath. The paintings are currently being shown, along with 30 or so other works of art, in an empty shop near House of Fraser’s store in Canal Walk.’

Joe Kaempfer, chief executive of McArthur Glen, was so impressed by Ken’s railway paintings that after the Designer Outlet Centre opened he bought six.  But why are there none of Ken’s paintings in our prestigious Modern Art Collection.

Ken’s work continues to have a presence in the Great Western Hospital and the Commonweal School, but hey – come on Swindon. I know there's not much money in the piggy bank, but here’s a revolutionary idea.  Why don’t we sell a couple of the paintings currently in store at the museum that we never see anyway and buy one of Ken’s that we’d all love to see.

Read more about the inspiration for Ken's work in the Spring 2014 edition of Swindon Heritage.

Two of Ken's paintings that hang in the Outlet Village.

Swindon Local Studies have a selection of Ken's posters. Visit the website on

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