TODAY'S Object of the Week is a sketch by the late, great County Durham artist Norman Cornish, which is currently on display at Palace Green Library, Durham University.

"I see two men having a close conversation in a pub, their shape resembles a bridge, with their heads looking like key stones... Their heads are together and conversation is a bridge between minds. I have found another bit of my personal world."

So said Norman Cornish of his pub drawings, including Dog Talk.

It is typically Cornish: an affectionate portrait of everyday life in 20th Century County Durham, a pub scene, and his ever-present love of people and characters.

Dog Talk transports the viewer back to an era now largely passed: the clinking of pint glasses, the low rumble of chatter, the dull thud of darts in the board.

Just as interesting as the drawing itself are the people pictured. They are believed to be Joe Hughes and 'Tosser' Angus who, like Cornish, worked as miners in the pits of Spennymoor.

Both were enlisted to the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) during the Second World War and both survived to be captured in this scene.

The dog was named Piper, in keeping with the tradition of dogs being named after musical instruments in the DLI. He became one of the country's top racing greyhounds.

2019 is the 100th anniversary of Norman Cornish's birth and a Centenary programme is engaging new audiences with his work through themed events and exhibitions.

Norman Cornish: The Sketchbooks is one such exhibition, and is at Palace Green Library, Durham University, until Sunday, February 23.

Before his death in 2014, Cornish said he hoped his sketchbooks would "have a life of their own and be of interest to people". His studio, at his home in Spennymoor, contained 296 sketchbooks, containing a huge range of images from quick sketches to finished drawings.

The Sketchbooks features some of these treasures, offering an intimate insight into Cornish's work and mind.

Dog Talk¸ undated, charcoal and crayon on paper, is on loan from Northumbria University.

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