Tinth – Happy Christmas One And All

Celebrating Tinth and Christmas at one and the same time.

In 2016  the Counties of Cornwall and Devon staged some fabulous events to celebrate Tinth.   Marking the tenth anniversary of Cornish Mining and mining sites in Cornwall and Devon achieving World Heritage Site status in 2006.

An appropriate time for me to re-visit tin mining as a subject to paint, one which I have not really covered much since my 2009 Cornwall Mines and Monuments, Cornwall Heritage Exhibition.    Tinth  has a special resonance with me given my own personal family mining heritage.   Not only Tin Mining as a motif to paint, I am also privileged to have worked in two of the last operating Cornish Tin Mines, Wheal Jane – the subject of the painting – and Mt Wellington Mine.   Furthermore because my mother was one of 3 girls and born at a time when women no longer worked in the industry,  hers is the only generation in my family going back to before the English Civil War that was not employed in the tin mining industry.

For at least 400 years, and probably much further back, every single generation on my mothers side, with the exception of her and her two sisters, worked in the Cornish Mines right up to and including me.

As the year comes to an end and in yet another break from my usual tradition of sending out ‘Cosmic Christmas’ cards I have used my  recently completed Tinth painting ‘Tinth ~ Wheal Jane Mine’ as the basis for my 2016 Christmas Card

Tinth - Wheal Jane Mine, 2016 acrylic on canvas 30x36in - Modern Art by British Artist Chris Billington

Tinth – Wheal Jane Mine, 2016 acrylic on canvas 30x36in

‘Tinth – Whean Jane Mine’ is my celebration of the tenth anniversary of World Heritage Stutus for our tin mining industry.   It is also a celebration of the blood , sweat and hard work of an exceptional breed of men who have gone before.   It is a celebration of an industry that created great wealth for Cornwall and Cornish folk but sadly took the lives of many.

Furthermore “Tinth – Wheal Jane Mine” is especially dedicated to my late grandfather Edward Henry “Eddie” Date who worked East Pool and South Crofty Mines.   It is also an homage to my Great, Great Uncle Nicholas Date who carried his 25 yo pal Thomas Kessell back to the surface after a mining accident involving a chain breaking on a kibble at 220 fathoms in Dolcoath Mine in March 1863.   This was in the Wheal Harriett part of the mine but during the accident Thomas fell a further 10 fathoms and Nicholas went  down to get him and tried to save his life and carried him back up to the top with as much speed as he could .  Thomas never recovered consciousness and died minutes after he had been brought back above ground.   Finally the painting is also for my Great, Great, Great Uncle Nicholas Date Junior who blew himself up in a dynamite accident underground at Wheal Vor in November 1838.

Eddie Date and fellow miners 1600ft underground East Pool Mine 1934 - Chris Billington

Eddie Date, front row left side, and fellow miners 1600ft underground East Pool Mine 1934

An apt reminder of the power and glory of a bygone industry and the bold and fearless men and women behind it.

Wheal Jane Mine and tailings dam c1988 - Chris Billington 2016

Wheal Jane Mine and tailings dam c1988 – Chris Billington 2016

I am proud to share “Tinth – Wheal Jane Mine” as my Christmas Card for 2016, and as usual it goes out to my loyal patrons, friends, and supporters of my art both here in the UK and the rest of the world.

Happy Christmas One And All.

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