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Exhibition 32: 1/11/14





24th November 1864 at 5.30pm a force 10 gale wrecked two ships and claimed 32 lives on the Black Middens at the mouth of the river Tyne. These tragic events led to the construction of the historic Watchhouse and the founding of England’s first Volunteer Life Brigade at Tynemouth.
The theme for my new work is from the original writings of Mr James Gilbert, coxswain of Tynemouth’s Lifeboat Constance1864 and from the accounts of the Shields Daily News from that date.

Press quote 2007. Mooney said ‘I heard of the disaster a few years ago and realized it was relatively unknown within North Shields. This is an important part of our local history and it needs to be retold, as it rallied the local populous of that time to create England’s first Volunteer Life Brigade, something we should all be proud of.’ 

Mooney beautifully combines found organic material (Collected from the river Tyne and Blackmiddens) with pigment, to create complex sculptured surface textures that capture the powerful essence of the wild North Sea. His fractured, blue-green abstract images evoke a sense of being drawn into a dark, angry, swirling maelstrom, triggering tragic memories of loss at sea, of wreck and aftermath. These multi-layered works seem to reflect the drama of man’s often-fragile relationship with nature, creating a romantic sense of the sublime, reminiscent of the awesome beauty of the violent power of nature in many of Turner’s vortex-like sea paintings. This contemporary art looks at a fascinating slice of local maritime heritage and contemplates the overwhelming power of nature.



2 Black

‘2 BLACK’ close up

2 BLACK close up


3ft 6” by 4ft 6” Materials (Marble dust, Paint Pigment, String, Sand, Seaweed, Glow Pigment, Gold leaf and Bitumen)











  • '32'‘SPLIT’

  • 'SPLIT'
  • 'Split'





‘Margaret Gordon’ passenger on the ‘SS Stanley’, found neat the ‘Staith’ on ‘North Shields’ beach, 25th November 1864



The SS Stanley November 1864

Margaret Gordon


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