Sheffield artist Joe Scarborough unveils latest artwork that captures old and new Attercliffe

Sheffield's legendary artist Joe Scarborough has unveiled his latest work, which captures the old and modern Attercliffe.

Friday, 13th May 2022, 9:38 pm

The painting is notable for being the first time he has included an image of himself in one of his artworks.

The 83-year-old, whose creations include 'Sheffield Through the Ages' at Weston Park Museum, was commissioned to produce a major piece to mark the completion of the first development phase at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.

The painting, titled 'Training Day', captures a moment in time, reflecting the old Attercliffe and celebrating the future being created through the transformational economic, health, sporting and environmental legacies at the park.

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Joe Scarborough unveils his latest artwork, 'Training Day'. Picture by Dean Atkins

The painting was originally meant to be 30"x24" but has doubled in size due to the amount of detail Joe has included, like the image of a concierge outside the iconic Adelphi, modelled on himself.

Describing the painting during the unveiling at The Old Library on Friday, May 13, he said it is divided into two acts - one in shades of blue to reflect the past and one in colour which represents the present.

He said: "Adelphi - what a piece of architecture is that and the only person on this entire part who is in colour is me.

"I was a cinema doorman at the Odeon for 18 months before I was found out leaving my post and having ice cream in the theatre itself.

Joe Scarborough with Sheffield Lord Mayor, Gail Smith. Picture by Dean Atkins

"There's a thing about putting a man in uniform - I met my wife actually when I was a park keeper in Longley Park and it worked!"

Joe said the idea of shades of blue came from American composer George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, which he said was one of his favourite pieces.

"The movement of Sheffield at the time - you were either going to work or coming back from work so there was a great synergy, a great movement," he said.

The painting then descends into an area of colour, where there is a chorus line of people descending on the park and onto the field of play.

Joe said: "There are young people playing football, then there are knights. Everybody's not at the play exactly but being trained. It is an area of training, in fact, the painting is actually called ‘Training Day'."

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‘I enjoyed the work’

Describing it further, he said the painting also captures a movement that starts from the Oasis Academy, which he said ‘the most important part of the entire painting’.

It depicts a teacher who is leading her charges into the field of play, which Joe said, is a ‘synonym for life’.

He also included two Supertram trains at the bottom of the painting, which he said needed to be put on a single track due to the size restrictions.

"So far, it’s worked quite well. We’ve had no incidents or anything like that but I made absolutely sure that one is going to the Cathedral and the other is going to Meadowhall, so they’re never going to meet.”

And just for pure fun, he said, he put a harrier, which he called ‘Edna’ after his stepmother.

He joked: “I put her in and she is called Edna after my stepmother whom you couldn’t put anything past – she had they eyes of a hawk!"

Joe said the painting, which he described as being ‘in motion’, reflects the development of Attercliffe.

He added: “I enjoyed the work, I really did, so I commend it to you.”

Another ‘renaissance’ of Attercliffe

Richard Caborn, the Legacy Park Ltd chair and former sports minister, described Joe's latest artwork as another 'renaissance' of Attercliffe.

He said: "Joe has captured the old Attercliffe and the new and brought upon all the anchor institutions of the city that helped us to get where we are today."

Originally hailing from Pitsmoor, Joe still lives in his hometown on his much-loved narrowboat, where he started this latest painting.

Sheffield Lord Mayor Gail Smith told how the artwork brings back memories of Attercliffe as it amazingly encapsulates the past and the future.

She said: "The artwork is amazing. Anyone who has lived in Sheffield all their life, like I have and obviously Joe Scarborough has, will recognise all those buildings and the story brings back memories to Attercliffe.

"It's going to be in the right place and I'm honoured that we'll get a copy that we can hang in the Town Hall so that people in Sheffield can come in and have a look."

Created following the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to deliver whole population improvements in health and wellbeing, Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is the only legacy park outside an Olympic host city anywhere in the world.

Tony Blair and Boris Johnson to receive copies

Also present during the ceremony were the current and previous Legacy Park Ltd chief executives, Dr Chris Low and David Hobson, and members of several organisations associated with the park who joined together to commission the painting.

A personalised, signed artist proof of the painting will be presented to each of the commissioners and to Mr Hobson, in recognition of his contribution the Park’s development, which has attracted over £100 million in public and private sector investment.

Current and former Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Tony Blair will also receive copies of the latest artwork.

Tony Blair was Prime Minister in 2005 and supported the bid to bring the Games to London, stating the unique selling point was the legacy that would be created from the event.

Boris Johnson was Mayor of London in 2012 and a big advocate of the Olympics providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to increase sports participation and improve access to facilities.

They have been sent signed prints of the painting and invited to a planned ‘Olympic Legacy in Action’ gala dinner taking place at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield on September 9.

A total of 100 limited edition prints of the painting will be available to purchase at https://joescarboroughart.co.uk.