Date Posted: 21st June 2017

Newlands Valley
The white cottage,Lorton

Plans for the long awaited Kelly retrospective (September 23rd 2017 – January 28th 2018) are now all coming together. There will be more than 100 paintings plus prints, letters, fabrics, photographs and artefacts as well as film. It is all very exciting – and hectic.

I have had my head down over the computer for the past 2 months putting the catalogue together.  Friendships have been on hold, newsletters have not been written, birthdays have passed forgotten, phones switched off and visits kept to the minimal.  But I have really enjoyed gathering it all together and playing with Kelly’s stunning images. What a complex, frustrating, genius of an artist he was.  The catalogue will be a collectors’ piece with over 100 pages in full colour. It is Kelly at his best and includes writings by art critics, memories from people who knew him and an essay on the development of his work throughout his life from his first signed and dated drawing in 1928 (Kelly was 9) all the way through to his death in Norfolk in 1993.  Some of the paintings in the show have never been exhibited before and some date back to that first exhibition at Castlegate House in 1994 when I got a first look at the full breadth of Kelly’s talent which had been hidden away for years. It has just gone on from there.

As I write, a very special etching exclusive to Tullie House to mark this retrospective is being expertly printed from Kelly’s plate of Newlands Church. It will be an edition of 75.  At the moment I can’t give you any more details but there will be an image and more information in the next newsletter.
This is going to be a memorable exhibition which will run for 4 months to give everyone a chance to see it. It’s not just the links with Percy Kelly that make Tullie House the perfect place for his retrospective it is also the beautiful, flexible gallery space and the state of the art lighting the gallery affords. It is also easily accessible by road and railway. Carlisle Station, a short walk from Tullie House, is also on the fast West Coast Line from Euston to Glasgow and Edinburgh. (planning permission has been granted for a passenger airport a few miles east of Carlisle but at the moment it is just commercial traffic so unless you have a private jet you will have to wait.)

I have a strong feeling that many of you will want to come more than once so you may want to join the Tullie House membership scheme which gives free admission to the museum and art gallery for a year including all special exhibitions.  For £25 (or £20 concessions) members get, not only unlimited free admission, but exclusive invitations to exhibition previews and lectures, a discount in the shop and a regular What’s On guide.  For an application form, email or if you are local pop into Reception and open a membership there and then. I am already booked for lectures and conducted tours of the Kelly show for members.  I have a feeling I’ll be carving out a groove in the A591 or maybe I should book into my favourite Carlisle Hotel – The Halston – an Apart Hotel situated in the beautifully renovated old post office building – a mere 10 minute walk away from Tullie House.  It’s yet another link to Percy who was a post office worker for many years. (There is also a Travelodge and a Premier Inn within reasonable walking distance.)

So keep an eye on the newsletter and on the web site  All will be revealed in the next few months.