Welcome to my new website. I hope you enjoy seeing the wide variety of items that can be painted in the Canal Art style, after the fabulous decorations you can see on canal boats throughout the UK.
The tradition of decorating boats and boatmen’s objects dates back to the earliest days of Britain’s canals of the modern era, circa 1760s. It is hard to say with any certainty how this tradition came about, but the inland waterways story gives us some clues.
Prior to the coming of the canals, carters in England were in the habit of painting floral designs on their carts and wagons. Some of the larger vehicles were elaborately decorated with intricate piping and lining, cartouche panels and clusters of roses. It is thought that these expert horse drivers may have been among the first generation of horse drawn boat operators, we might, therefore, suppose that they began adorning their boats as they had done their carts. Over time, this resulted in a stunning array of swags and garlands of roses which brightened up the boatman’s cabin and many of the tools of his trade.
Here is the milk churn, right, I have painted up for the Welcome to Yorkshire show garden at this year's Chelsea Flower Show. In the picture panel I have included a stylised version of Skipton Castle. I have also added the White Rose of Yorkshire in the floral design and restricted the other rose colours to white and yellow.