Bolton Evening News, c.1950
FRANCOISE TAYLOR is of Belgian birth and was educated in Brussels. Marriage brought her to Bolton, where she now lives. But the rather grim atmosphere of industrial Lancashire has not daunted her; on the contrary, it is evident that her sensibility is exited by the mills, the gasworks, the back streets, the football matches, the railway stations and the people. An exhibition of her works – nine watercolours, eight etchings, and one lithograph – opens today at the Salford Art Gallery.
Without any forcing of the tone, or exaggeration of dramatic effect, Mrs Taylor expresses very exactly the atmosphere of the locality. More than that, she expresses also the slightly wistful pathos which it evokes in her mind. Colour is not her strongest suit. Her pen work however, has a delicate linear fantasy which nevertheless permits her to summarise an immense amount of descriptive detail. Her footballers move intently in their own peculiar choreographic attitudes, and her masses of spectators (mere twiddles of the pen if you look too closely) are swayed like fields of corn by the sudden tensions and excitements of the play.
A dog sits expectantly in a doorway; a group of boys squat over dice in a yard, or peer at locomotives from an overhead bridge; miners with patches of white skin round the eyes like oases in a black desert, stare across a street. A Gothic church stands black against a clear sky. To have revealed poetry, and charm in such subjects is a distinct achievement. Mrs Taylor is perhaps most at ease in the medium of etching, to which she occasionally adds aquatint. Her manner is somewhat akin to that of Anthony Gross, but is quite personal. It is a pity that her drawings are not more stylishly mounted and framed.