Joe Scarborough exhibition has Sheffield talking following big opening weekend

A major exhibition of works by one of Sheffield’s best-loved artists, Joe Scarborough, is proving a big hit.

Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 16:50 pm

More than 1,500 people headed to Life in the Big Village, at Weston Park Museum, which is the first large-scale retrospective of the great man’s works in more than a quarter of a century, over the opening weekend.

The launch party on Friday drew another 300 visitors and Kim Streets, chief executive of Museums Sheffield, which runs the venue, claimed the show has really got people talking.

The Joe Scarborough retrospective runs at Weston Park Museum until November 24

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“We had a great turnout over the opening weekend, despite some pretty foul weather, which shows Joe’s popularity,” she said.

“Some of the feedback has been delightful. You’ve had people poring over the pictures and getting lost in them, and they’ve prompted a lot of reminiscing.

“His work’s so full of place names, street signs and landmarks, which really gets people talking.

Curator Liz Waring with paintings from the Joe Scarborough retrospective at Weston Park Museum

“I think people like the way he paints everyday life and, with his artist’s eye, picks out the ordinary and extraordinary in what we’re familiar with but often take for granted.

“Seeing those places in his paintings is a real trigger to get people remembering the last time they stood on that bridge, visited the market or went to the theatre.

“There was one group at the weekend looking at his pictures of the theatre and talking about plays they’d seen, which shows the power his work has to really engage viewers.”

The free exhibition, bringing together more than 60 of his paintings and drawings, opened on Saturday and runs until Sunday, November 24.

Joe Scarborough, Street Fight. Image ©

The bold and often humorous depictions of Yorkshire life, celebrating the region’s past and present in his inimitable style, have been painted across a career stretching more than 50 years.

Ms Streets said the artist had been there on Saturday, chatting to visitors and sharing memories of the scenes depicted.

“I think he’s planning to be a regular visitor so we could be seeing a lot more of him,” she added.

Joe Scarborough will be at the museum next Tuesday, August 27, from 1pm-1.45pm, to give a free talk about his life and works, followed by a short Q&A.

The museum is also hosting a series of ‘Discovery Days’ where young visitors are being encouraged to create their own pieces inspired by his work.

For more about the exhibition and these tie-in events, visit