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Text by art historian and industrial archaeologist Peter Wakelin
Featuring over 100 photographs and paintings by George Little of heavy industry and industrial towns that chronicled their decline through his lifetime
"Everywhere the images of my choice are disappearing: pithead wheels, slag heaps, heavy industry, the fishing industry, even the streets of workers’ houses, and the Swansea docks as I knew them are virtually no more … my subject matter is almost a memory." – George Little, 2004
"No one knew better than George about the ‘ugly lovely’ aspect of Dylan’s Swansea, but few if any succeeded in transforming its ugliness into memorably lovely paintings." – Prys Morgan
"A well-written and meticulously researched study which is a splendid synthesis of art history and industrial archaeology." – Dr Barrie Trinder, author of The Making of the Industrial Landscape
Writers, artists, urban explorers and archaeologists have long been drawn to the places of industry and the gaunt and mournful remains left behind by deindustrialisation and urban decay. No artist has been more committed to recording and interpreting such environments than George Little.
Born in the east end of Swansea in 1927 he grew up next to the abandoned copper works, slag heaps and still-busy docks of Dylan Thomas’s ‘ugly, lovely town’. As a teenager the destruction of the Swansea Blitz was seared into his imagination. After training at Swansea College of Art and the Ruskin School of Drawing in Oxford he lectured in art history at Swansea University. He brought a deep visual knowledge to a life’s work exploring the dramatic forms and startling colours of industrial and urban decay in photographs, drawings and paintings. He continued working up until his death in 2019.
About the author
Peter Wakelin is an art historian and industrial archaeologist originally from Swansea. He was formerly Director of Collections at Amgueddfa Cymru-Museum Wales and Secretary of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. He has published books on the artists Charles Burton, Roger Cecil, Falcon Hildred, David Jones and Sally Moore and wrote the official guidebooks for the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct World Heritage sites.