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Chance to hear more about artist's work and inspiration.

OVER the last few years, both the Dorman Museum and Mima have showcased the work of Viva Talbot. The artist, now famous for creating woodblock prints that provide a pictorial history of the steelmaking process in the 1930s, was until recently relatively unknown.

In 2006, in her role as Project Manager for the British Steel Archive Project, Dr Joan Heggie discovered an album of 15 significant woodblock prints. The images included mining, smelting, and the extraction process. Heggie was determined to find out how a woman had managed to gain access to the steel mills to collect such knowledge in the 30s. Dr Heggie discovered Viva had connections, her father was the Talbot of the Talbot Tilting furnace. Benjamin Talbot transformed open hearth steel production with his invention.

The Talbot's were from Shropshire, but Benjamin's interest in steel meant the family moved frequently; Viva was born in Surrey. Talbot had been involved with iron companies in Pennsylvania for over 10 years before coming to Teesside to share his knowledge and innovative ideas. A New York university purchased a book of Viva's documentary art in black and white for several hundred pounds a few years ago.

Middlesbrough's Cargo Fleet Iron Company and South Durham Steel and Iron Company in Stockton probably provided inspiration for untrained artist Viva. Her father's success led to him becoming managing director of both firms.

This enabled Viva to travel extensively in the years between the two world wars from the family home that was then Solberge Hall.

Viva married Thomas Nussey and became Lady Nussey of Rushwood Hall, near Ripon. She spent the rest of her life in the West Tanfield hall and continued creating hundreds of woodblocks. Viva Talbot died in 1983, aged 83, and remained a secret until a chance discovery over 20 years later. Viva's work has been exhibited frequently and featured on BBC's Inside Out. If you want to learn more, Dr Heggie who has collected much concerning Viva, with the help of her nephew, is holding a talk at Kirkleatham Hall Museum on September 17.


Viva Talbot

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 11, 2019
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