Jack Simcock (1929 - 2012)

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Jack Simcock

Jack Simcock was born on 6th June 1929 in Biddulph, Staffordshire. The son (and only child) of George (a coal miner) and Lily Simcock.

From the ages of 13 to 15 he attended the Junior Technical School in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. His first job was in the drawing office of a company which designed and manufactured coalmining machinery. He also went to evening classes at the Wedgwood Institute, Burslem, to study building construction and science for the City and Guilds.

In 1947 Jack Simcock was Conscripted into the army, where he served for 2 years. It was here that he started painting, mostly in watercolours, and selling them for pocket money to friends and family. At the time he signed his work “Smickco”. Demobbed in 1949, he concluded that painting was his passion and started at Burslem Art School later that same year. This was when he began to paint in oils, and go out sketching locally.

It was also in 1949 that he met Beryl Shallcross, whom he married in 1952. During his time at Burslem Art School he failed his National Diploma in Design a total of 3 times.

Art Teacher

In 1953 he was employed as the Arts and Crafts Master at Lawton Hall Private School in Cheshire, where he taught until 1967.

Jack and Beryl had 2 children. Tony born in 1954 and Janis born in 1956. The family moved into “West View” at Mow Cop in 1958, where he lived until his death in 2012.

It was in 1956 that he got his big break, when his paintings were snapped up by Godfrey Pilkington at the Piccadilly Gallery, Cork Street, London, when he took them around the London galleries.

He had over 50 one man exhibitions from 1956 until 1981. His paintings were bought by a wide range of collectors, including the rich and famous, and are represented in a number of public galleries including the Tate Gallery. In 1975 he published his autobiography “Simcock Mow Cop” along with a book of poems “Midnight Till Three”. He was always an obsessive writer along with his painting.

Unique Style

Jack’s painting style was easily recognised for it’s dark, gloomy look. Landscapes, cottages, trees and faces all within a light sky. In early 1980 he changed his style of painting, needing to include more colour and express himself in different ways, a natural progression for any artist. This resulted in him being dropped by the Piccadilly Gallery, and most of his collectors.

The coloured paintings have been shown in one man exhibitions at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery early in 2001, and the Moorland Arts & Antique Centre, Leek, Staffordshire later in 2001, and at Keele University in 2012 in a 3 man exhibition with Arthur Berry and Enos Lovatt. Ironically Jack died the day before the opening.

The last painting was completed in 2011, but Jack was drawing and writing right up to a few days before his death on 13th May 2012. He was in heart failure and suffering from bowel cancer.