Family uncover amazing paintings by modest Sunderland artist who shied away from showing off his talent

The family of a Sunderland artist who discovered around 50 of his paintings they barely knew existed are now sharing them with the world.

Alan Pearson lived in Planet House and died from pneumonia in November 23, 2022 aged 86. His wife Betty died in July 2021 aged 85 after 64 years of marriage.

Alan had been a plumber with the old PWD and served in the RAF. But he also had a great passion for art and a talent to match, although he was very modest about his skills.

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It was no secret that he painted. However, it was only when his children Alan, Tracy and Leigh cleared out his flat that they discovered just how productive he was.

Artist Alan Pearson passed away in November 2022 leaving around 50 paintings, including Vaux Dray and Horses, most of which had never been seen.

There were portraits of stars including Paul Newman, Nicole Kidman and Marilyn Monroe, images of Wearside and family portraits. He had seven grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. Alan had no formal artistic training, just a natural gift.

His daughter Tracy Joyce said: “It was his hobby. His dad painted as well and his sister (the late Joan Henderson) did all the illustrations for a book about the Lambton Worm.

“I think he started doing these in the 80s. A lot of them were shoved into the back of a cupboard and they built up. When we cleared his house after he died we saw them. The funeral director asked if she could put them in the order of service.

Sunderland Fish Quay by Alan Pearson.

“There must have been about 50 paintings. There are pictures of his grandchildren, great-grandchildren and wedding photos that he copied from.

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“Sometimes he would look through books and see scenic photographs of Italy and Spain. He was interested in that.

“They’re on canvas. He used to make wooden frames. But he didn’t really show them to anyone. I don’t think he realised how good he was and if I’d suggested it he would have said ‘No. That’s not finished. This is not ready.’

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Sunderland artist Alan Pearson's legacy of paintings he never showed including V...
Paul Newman by Alan Pearson.
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“He just didn’t show anybody. They weren’t hidden, but we didn’t realise he’d painted so many.

People at the funeral were shocked when they saw them. Three of his old friends were there and they didn’t even know that he painted.”

Sunderland Minster 1996 by Alan Pearson.