How a legendary Pompey triumph inspired an artist’s work

Pitch invasion by Barry Laden.
Pitch invasion by Barry Laden.

Award winning artist, Barry Laden, has used his time growing up in Portsmouth as part of his inspiration for his exhibition of new paintings – ‘The Roar of the Crowd’.

Originally from London, Barry moved to Portsmouth in 1976 after his mother remarried.

Barry Laden with his painting The Pitch Invasion above his head

Barry Laden with his painting The Pitch Invasion above his head

‘I lived in Southsea from the age of 11 to 18. They were my formative years and my affinity for Portsmouth has stayed with me even now I am in my fifties,’ explained Barry.

Barry’s interest in football and childhood experiences at Fratton Park have helped form the basis of his football inspired art.

‘I always look out for Portsmouth football club because I was there during my formative years. Football stadiums, the colour and roar of the crowd have always interested me,’ explained Barry.

Named ‘The Pitch invasion’ one distinctive painting depicts the celebratory scenes as fans spilled onto the pitch to celebrate Portsmouth gaining promotion.

Pompey beat Notts County to win promotion to League One in 2017. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey beat Notts County to win promotion to League One in 2017. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘You can instantly tell it is Portsmouth because of the blue shorts and red socks. That combination has to be Portsmouth,’ added Barry. 

Barry began to develop his passion for ‘the arts’ whilst attending the City of Portsmouth Boys School.

Barry said: ‘Every weekend I used to go to see art exhibitions at the castle. In 1977 I won a competition for a piece of creative writing and my reward was to play a part in the royal family in the rehearsal for the Queen’s Jubilee. I was saluted by the Admirals off Spit Head.’

Barry, who describes his art as ‘abstract in style’, has focused on creating his own distinct pictorial ‘signature’.

‘When you think of art you often look at a picture and say ‘that is is a Picasso or Constable’. I felt it was important to focus on a particular style that was recognisable as me,’ explained Barry. 

During his career Barry has received an MBE ‘for services to the fashion industry’ and was inducted into the Fellowship of the Royal Society for Arts.

Despite such acclaim, Barry hopes his latest work will receive recognition in Portsmouth. ‘I would really love for this painting to be displayed by the football club or shown as part of the city’s art collection,’ said Barry