Artwork captures Doncaster’s meat market in the’80s

'Butcher's shop, Corn Exchange, Doncaster', by John Sprakes
'Butcher's shop, Corn Exchange, Doncaster', by John Sprakes

Doncaster’s local heritage collection has been boosted by the purchase of a painting depicting the town’s award-winning market.

The painting by local artist John Sprakes, which is entitled Butcher’s Shop, Corn Exchange, Doncaster, was purchased by Doncaster Heritage Services thanks to funding from the Friends of Doncaster Museums group.

The work is now on display at Doncaster Museum, and is part of a series of pictures completed in and around Doncaster Market by the artist during the 1980s.

The painting was acquired for the museum after a successful one-person exhibition by Mr Sprakes at the Museum and Art Gallery earlier this year.

Mr Sprakes said: “The area of the market, including the butchers’ shops, inspired me to visually record the life and times of our much-loved market. The characters in the painting and the colours of the meat and aprons plus the reflected light in the machinery and tiles freeze a moment in time. The old lady stooping to pay for the meat adds character and atmosphere to the painting.”

Speaking about the purchase of the painting John Wheeler, chairman of the Friends organisation said: “The Friends of Doncaster Museum were delighted to purchase John Sprakes’ painting of the meat market. It is an evocative work that portrays one of Doncaster’s treasures. It also recalls the wonderful exhibition of John Sprakes’ work that the museum held earlier in the year. We are so pleased to see it within the museum’s collection.”

Cabinet member for culture, Coun Bill Mordue, said: “It is fantastic to see great work by an esteemed local artist taking pride of place at Doncaster Museum. Thanks to the generous support of Friends of Doncaster Museum, visitors will be able to enjoy seeing this important piece of local heritage in person.

“The painting is a beautiful depiction of our award-winning market, which continues to serve the same kind of high-quality produce that it did when this piece was painted.”