• Peter Brook, 'FEBRUARY Fill-Dyke in Wigan' 1976-7
    Peter Brook
    FEBRUARY Fill-Dyke in Wigan 1976-7
    Lithograph on paper
    image: 510 x 711 mm
    Presented by Curwen Studio 1978© The estate of Peter Brook

Uncollected milk and a grey dog weather a winter day in Wigan. Moody sky burdened with unfallen snowflakes muffles this street corner, capturing the suffocating stillness of February in the UK.

Residents of the street have decided to stay in their homes. The absence of human figures provides a sharp antithesis to paintings by L.S. Lowry, whose depictions of northern townscapes similar to this Wigan street some 50 years earlier at the height of the British industrial period, are energised by clusters of local people busy with day to day life.

The title uses the phrase, ‘February fill-dyke’, which derives from an old proverb describing rain or melting snow filling dykes with water.

February fill dike
Be it black or be it white;
But if it be white,
The better to like.

From John Ray’s A Collection of English Proverbs, 1670