Ken Sprague - People's Artist

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Ken Sprague is unique in having had the most intimate and long-term relationship with the British Labour and Progressive Movement of any British artist.

The enormous range and volume of work he has produced in 64 years of dedicated commitment is unprecedented. He has worked with most of the major unions, solidarity organisations and the peace movement. He has produced publicity, posters, cartoons, sculptures, murals and banners as well as a number of popular television programmes.

His life and work are a reflection of the struggles and battles of much of the late twentieth century and into this one. Now, at the age of 75, he is still drawing
political cartoons, undertaking assignments in war-torn Yugoslavia and lecturing, in between earning a living as a psychotherapy specialist. It is not often that we commemorate our outstanding comrades in the struggle for socialism and the emancipation of working people, but we are determined to do so in Ken's case.

A book has been written about his life and work. Using Ken's own colourful stories with all their humour, it relates his intense involvement with the trade union and labour movement, his editorship of the T&GWU Record and tells of the interesting personalities he's worked with during his lifetime. It is richly illustrated with full colour and black and white reproductions of Ken's work. It is in paperback format (just under A4 size), and a book of high quality to treasure, to delight and inspire. A reduced picture of the front cover is shown below.

Cover of the book

ISBN 1 903458 34 X

Jack Jones, Ken Gill, Bill Morris and Rodney Bickerstaffe are just some of those leading trade unionists who have welcomed the initiative in publishing Ken's life story.

The book is now available for £25 on-line from the publisher's web site, Hawthorn Press (where full details can also be found), or by post from them at Hawthorn House, 1 Lansdown Lane, Lansdown, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1BJ or from the address given on the order form, which you can print and send by post as an alternative to ordering on-line.


The above was written before the publisher's blurb was produced. Now it is available, it is produced here:

Here, for the first time, is a selection of Ken's pictures, including posters for Martin Luther King, the labour movement, the anti-Apartheid campaign and war pictures from Iraq and Belgrade.

Ken Sprague has enormous experience - and skill - in the visual arts. In addition he is a legendary storyteller, with moving and amusing stories to enliven his pictures. He has won the National Council for Industrial Design's poster of the year award, twice, and exhibited frequently.

Full of good stories, this biography offers fascinating insights into the crisis of art, and dares to ask: how can art be reclaimed for ordinary people and communities?

John Green, the author, is a journalist, filmmaker, artist and trade union official, with a life-long interest in art.

"This book reflects the varied life and interests of a splendid character, racy, determined, invariably smiling with people and at life."
Jack Jones, former General Secretary, T.G.W.U.

"Ken has always been a dynamic and witty commentator and an innovative user of graphics. More than that - he has always been on the side of the people against the mass-murdering governments of the world. We should treasure him."
Adrian Mitchell, poet.

"This celebration of Ken Sprague's life is to be welcomed; he, as much as anyone, deserves it."
Tony Benn.

ISBN 1 903458 34 X, 160 pages, 275 X 215 mm, 120 black & white and colour illustrations, paperback, £25.00.


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