Hi and welcome. My name is Barbara Leigh and I specialise in antique folk art; naive and provincial, pictures and objects.
The catch all name for the pieces I offer is 'folk art'. Some pieces may be called naive or primitive art, but all are unpretentious, direct and often amusing.
The folk art and objects that interest me were created by those living far away from the fashionable cities and academic centres.
These makers had artistic ability and sometimes a little training, along with a simplicity of vision. The artists recorded the day to day lives, and the
important and talked about events of those communities in which they lived or travelled. Sometimes amateur, sometimes charging for their work, these artists capture the
unsophistication of rural life, with an innocence and honesty of vision.
Similarly household objects, of general mundane daily use, were made to be attractive as well as utilitarian and are now highly sought after. True Folk Art.
SO WHAT IS FOLK ART, and here I am referring to antique folk art, is, at its simplest, art and objects made by ordinary people for ordinary people.
FOLK ART tends to be utilitarian and everyday, with pieces of furniture, pottery and other everyday items. Often of simple form, simply and often naively decorated.
FOLK ART styles evolved around communities and/or activities. As such is it often possible to identify where a piece was made by its style or decoration
FOLK ART traditions were often handed down over the generations and evolved slowly. The folk art tradition of Scandinavian painted furniture is a good example.
FOLK ART paintings take as many forms as the artists who painted them, most of whom considered themselves as trades people and as such did not sign their works. The subject matter was invariably rural, houses, animals, portraits, amusing local events or festivals. What unites them is their static form, two dimensionality with lack of perspective, and often a sense of humour.
FOLK ARTISTS were generally untrained, but had an 'eye' and an innate talent, which led them to working as trade and sign painters.
Some developed a love of painting, and a way of depicting what they saw around them, that made their work prized by those who could afford to pay for paintings to hang on their walls. Many folk art artists were 'itinerant', in a time when to travel many miles from home was uncommon for ordinary folk.
They travelled from village to village painting the everyday, usually rustic, life around them, and of course portraits, as it must be remembered that these were the days before the advent, and universal use of photography.
Naive Straw Work of the Menai and Brittania Bridges, Menai Strait, North Wales
FOLK ART came out of local communities, each of which would have had a potter, a blacksmith, a carpenter, a sign writer/painter etc, each making the day to day items of everyday life, much of which is prized and collected as folk art today.
Each would also on occasion make special pieces, from the materials used in their daily work, to commemorate births, weddings or other special commissions, which were not used but prized and handed down through the generations.