Date Posted: 29th July 2018


WHEN PERCY MET NORMAN.  A two day event 28 -29 September at The Settlement, Castle Hill Maryport. CA15 6BQ

When Percy Kelly left Cumbria to live in Wales, he wrote to his friend the poet Norman Nicholson. - One day we must fuse our work for the whole world to see and read.  This is your chance!  It may never happen again.  A small exhibition of Kelly and Nicholson’s work has been gathered together for the first time.  There will be talks, workshops, readings, a guided Percy Kelly Maryport trail and much much more. All the events are free except Saturday evening’s event 6.00 – 7.30 when Norman’s biographer Kathleen Jones and I as Percy’s biographer join in a conversation about these two celebrated  ‘Cumbrian Brothers’  ( £10 ticket includes wine and canapés)

Many years ago I sold a large Percy Kelly charcoal drawing of Whitehaven to a young woman living on the South Coast.  Dolly travelled over 400 miles north in a smart car to collect it. It only just fitted into the car with a shoehorn if the driver sat upright, forward and didn’t move an eyelid!  That's what I call determination.

A few years later I cycled the Himalayas for Save the Children and met a young Scottish woman called Jan who lived in London. After all the hardship suffered on the bikes we bonded and kept in touch.  After a few years, by sheer coincidence, Jan moved to the same south coast town as Dolly. I introduced these two like-minded women to each other and they got on.

Then Dolly and her painting moved back to her native Cumbria and she bought a house in Maryport.  Jan came to visit a few times, liked the place and moved north last year - she now lives in a house on the cliff top opposite Dolly. Together they are part of The Maryporters Town Team and they are making waves in the art/heritage scene in Maryport.

Their latest big idea is a 2 day festival – WHEN PERCY MET NORMAN celebrating the day in 1959 when artist Percy Kelly met poet Norman Nicholson for a coffee at The Settlement in Maryport to see an exhibition of French printmakers together. Their friendship had begun a few years previously at an exhibition in Glasgow but this meeting at Maryport was to drastically change Kelly’s life. 

The Settlement (a big Georgian House on Castle Hill in Maryport) fell into disrepair over the years but is now being lovingly restored by a Trust. This festival is the first big event there and it looks exciting. It will be formally opened at 1.00 on Friday 28th September by our MP Sue Hayman and goes on to present two days of poetry readings, talks, writing and painting workshops, a pop up bookshop and a small exhibition of Norman and Kelly’s work …. and much much more. I am leading the Maryport trail after the opening on Friday starting at The Settlement at 1.30. (FREE but limited numbers so you must book 07814677452 or

There is a full programme attached, Contact Jan McTaggart for more information and booking  07814677452 or

There will be time over the 2 days for informal mingling and chatting as well as learning. I hope to be there most of the time. I look forward to catching up with all you Kelly fans. I’ve been missing you since the retrospective.

STOP PRESS; I now have a few MORE Kelly paintings for sale. See them on Contact me for more details.