Brightwork

Brightwork is the name given the the unique style of decoration carried by boats on the Leeds and Liverpool canal. This artform is  simultaneously more complex and more simplistic then that of art on the narrow canals, and it is most likely that it evolved from the coastal vessels that the Leeds and Liverpool boats are descended from.

The boats working on the Leeds and Liverpool come in a wide variety (Boat Link) of shapes and sizes but had a number of principle similarities; big, broad beamed vessels over 10ft wide, and usually a full 14ft, capable of scuttling around coastal waters.

The art is characterised by elaborate scrollwork and use of lining, with a fairly standardised colour range of yellow, green, red, blue and white.
Like all waterways art each painter and dockyard had their own style, but it is possible to divide it into three regional variations.
***Yorkshire – more use of lining, graining/varnishing plain timber
*** East Lancashire – Scrollwork is typically less flamboyant and the decoration as a whole is ‘heavier’
***West Lancashire – Decoration is more flamboyant as a whole, with more use of fine lining