Date Posted: 3rd October 2022


Sorry for the long silence. It’s been a bit busy here.  I’ve  just returned from a visit to London on several missions ( including 3 projects + a wedding and a funeral not all in London)  and it is good to see the rhythm of life returning in the art and culture world.  But it’s even better when London comes north.

The National Gallery has chosen just three venues outside London to be part of what they call their MASTERPIECE TOUR when a major work is selected from their permanent collection and is loaned  to a chosen venue every year. The Beacon museum and art gallery  in Whitehaven is proud to be one of  the chosen ones.

After improving security exponentially (The N G insisted on it)  The Beacon took its first loan, Chardin’s House of Cards, last year. They have just taken delivery of  their second - Rembrandt’s 400 year old portrait of his wife Saskia dressed as Flora, the Roman goddess of spring and fertility.  She was just 23 in 1635 when she posed for it. (imagine that!) It’s a very powerful painting full of emotion. She and Rembrandt had married just a year earlier. They had 4 children but only one Titus survived. She died aged 29 a year after he was born.

The Beacon has built an interesting exhibition around this important and priceless work which is open Tuesday – Saturday 10am to 4.30 pm and continues until January 8th next year. You can book a time slot to view at

… and there’s more…  Justine from The National Gallery will be giving a talk about the painting at the Beacon on Tuesday October 11th  2.15. You must book this and you can do it on line through the link below. (I’ve just booked it)

… and there’s even more!  Did you know that you can visit the older part of Tullie House in Carlisle?  The rooms there are hung with works from their permanent collection.   Entry is from the garden at the back or from the top floor of the museum.  It’s worth dropping in there as the works change regularly.  I love to go in when I have time to spare to see what’s come out of the storeroom and to soak up the atmosphere.  Old Tullie House was home to Carlisle Art College at the time Sheila Fell 1948/49 and  Percy Kelly 61 - 65 were there. The print department which interested Kelly the most was in a building where the council offices now stand but Percy would have studied fine art in the big room on the top floor of Tullie House. He would have used the well worn staircase. ( I can feel his presence on that staircase as I hold on to the handrail).

  I’m delighted to tell you that there is another real treat awaiting you there from 7th October – 31st January when works by 3 talented Cumbrian artists -  Sheila Fell, Percy Kelly and sculptor Lynn Dennison, which have all been gifted to Tullie House,  are on  display in the wood panelled room in a small exhibition titled Nature Inspires.

Here in Keswick the Alhambra cinema is coming up with a whole raft of great films and live relays from london. It has had a whole makeover during lockdown and has 2 screens and comfortable new seats.

 Theatre by the Lake has put together a varied and exciting programme of plays. Each one is different, surprising and captivating. From Beryl the demon cyclist, down a Yorkshire coal mine, in the east end of London and up Mount Everest to the latest nostalgic Brief Encounter in the round. We’ve had singing, dancing, instrumentals and good natured audience participation. Brief Encounter is an exceptionally good interpretation of the meeting of 2 strangers on the railway platform of Carnforth station. It is played in the round so the audience feel part of the action from the moment they arrive with a railway employee checking tickets and showing to seats. It finishes on Saturday (8th October) – and should not to be missed. It is followed by The Beauty Queen of Leenane  (21st October – 11th November). I cant wait to see it and will report back.

Everyone is making an effort to provide us with wonderful experiences because after the trauma of the pandemic art is a healer and raiser of spirits. Keep it going everyone.

There are some PKs for sale on   under works for sale and I will be adding a few new exciting pieces I’ve just acquired  to the list very soon. I will let you know