A Superb c.1953 Large Hand Painted Fairground Hoopla Stall Shutter Panel, by Fred Fowle


Origin: English
Period: Mid Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown   
Date: c.1953
Width: 54 inches
Height: 28.5 inches
Depth: 6 inches (at maximum)   

The convex shaped hand painted large shutter panel deriving from a hoopla stall centrally decorated with a heraldic Union Jack cartouche within a starburst and further painted scrolling decoration on a pistachio green and ruby red harlequin ground with gold highlights and borders survives from the middle of the twentieth century, painted by Fred Fowle (b1914) who created it especially for the coronation year of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

The panel remains entirely untouched, un-cleaned and un-restored and is such in as original order with some losses to the paint as expected though no structural flaws. She is ready to hang. This piece was part of eight or ten shutters that formed a circle around the bottom of the hoopla.

This shutter is listed in the Fairground Art Book as being by Fred Fowle (No.13 page 225) and is described as “a good example of his use of heralidic Motifs in the early ‘fifties being created especially for the coronation year of Queen Elizabeth II”. ( See photograph).

Fred Fowle was a classic fairground artist who decorated many of the leading showfolks’ tackle.  He upheld the tradition of classic fairground art.  His incredible 3D images seemed to somehow mimic the actual motion of individual amusement riding machines.  He was in a class of his own, especially with ‘marbling’ and ‘diminishing dropshade (with deep perspective)’ techniques, often using partridge feathers instead of brushes to achieve unbelievable results with paint.  Fred was an admirer of Great British Art and saw the fairground as a huge canvas to create his bold statements of form and colour.  Fred Fowle remains one of the most revered classical decorators of traditional showland rides and attractions, and showfolk still hold in great affection the memory of this mild mannered and likeable personality.

Many people are fascinated by fairground art and by the gorgeously painted and carved creatures that enchanted us from a young age. The world's finest collection of fairground art was amassed in the 1960s and 1970s by Lord and Lady Bangor when it was generally undervalued and underpriced. When Christie's auctioned their collection at Wookey Hole, Somerset in 1997, the sale attracted huge interest and massive sale results. Collectors flocked not just because of the finery of the collection, but because it is now quite rare to find or be able to purchase fairground art in the open market.

Proving delightfully decorative and deliciously nostalgic.This artwork is sure to appreciate in historical and monetary value as it is by one of the greatest fairground artists of all time and also has the added importance of being painted specially for the coronation of year of Queen Elizabeth II.

With our special thanks to David Littleboy.