Town inspires ‘emerging star’ of the arts world

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Belper’s architectural heritage provided the inspiration for an exhibition by an “emerging star” of the arts world.

Bartholomew ‘Barley’ Beal, aged 24, spent a year absorbing the traditions of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site as part of a residency at the University of Derby.

The results were displayed at Derby Museum & Art Gallery last week, followed by a guided walk around the places that inspired his work.

Barley’s research explored stories such as the Nailers of Belper whose jobs were made redundant by industrialisation. He depicted characters from the era in his own style - which uses “‘quiet figures within an under-described space.”

He said: “They were heavy drinkers and a notoriously unruly bunch who set aside ‘Saint Mondays’ to recover from the weekends’ excesses.”