Date Posted: 29th January 2018

Corner of the garden

So we’ve reached the designated end of the Kelly retrospective and entering 3 weeks of extension. The exhibition will now close on Sunday 18th February. People are still pouring in and they  are still getting very emotional about it all. Some are now on their 4th or 5th visit and still they come. It is overwhelming. The shop should be selling Percy Kelly paper handkerchiefs (I’ll keep that in mind for the next time!)

Every time I go in Tullie House I steel myself for a big surprise.  There were several awaiting me on Saturday when I did the first of the 4 weeks of gallery tours – several people I hadn’t seen in years.  A man smiled and spoke and a memory of his first Kelly purchase flashed into my head. I had given a talk at Theatre by the Lake years ago and was signing books in the foyer . He walked straight to the front of the queue. ‘Please join the queue’ I said coldly.  ‘How much is the Maryport painting upstairs?’ he asked unperturbed by the hostility from the people in the queue (and from me!)  I softened. It was a very expensive large painting and I’ve never been one to turn my back on a sale. ‘I’ll see you in the café in ten minutes,’ I said and off he went. That was the beginning of his Kelly collection which I delivered via a service station on the M5. And last Saturday he and his wife were back enjoying the exhibition and hoping there would be more for sale .(** there may be at the end of the show.)

The Sunday afternoon of talks was really good despite terrible weather. I fought through a blizzard on the A66 and then the M6 with very low visibility - so well done all you intrepid Kelly fans who came from much further than I did and kept going.
There are 3 more Saturday afternoon gallery tours left. (3rd, 10th and 17th 2.00 – 3.00). I take people on a meandering walk round the exhibition picking out paintings with a story attached (most of them carry a story but some more dramatic than others – ( I tend to do the more dramatic ones which will be no surprise to those who know me). There is The Stolen Painting, The Sorry Painting, The Rejected Painting, The Mystery Painting, paintings using strange materials and loads of stories in the cabinets of letters and artefacts. They vary according to my mood.  You need to book for these tours at Tullie House. Tel: 01228 618718  E-Mail:

I am also reliably informed that my talk The Reluctant Exhibitionist is also well booked out at Theatre by the Lake on 14th March. This will be accompanied by an exhibition of etchings, lithographs and screenprints in the Circle and Mezzanine areas of the theatre.

So there is a lot to look forward to. Stay subscribed  to the newsletter or sign on the web site . You can contact me through that if you wish to know more.  I tend to answer e mails at midnight or early morning before the madness of the day begins!