Date Posted: 31st March 2018

Melbreak; ink on paper

The link, as promised, to the excellent 1 hour documentary about Percy Kelly produced by Radio Cumbria will be accessible for the next 29 days.

 Belinda Artingstoll of Radio Cumbria has excelled herself in her research, editing and presentation. The title is a direct quotation from Kelly.  A day without painting or drawing threatened disaster and depression and, while it sounds conceited, it is absolutely true. Kelly wished himself normal without this great burden he carried with him. This was not false modesty. He wrestled with his ability and the compulsive, obsessive position he found himself in like the little girl in the fairy story who wished to dance and found herself unable to stop or King Midas who wished for gold and found everything he touched turned to gold including his daughter.

Kelly compared the mountain of work piled up in his cottage with Pandora’s Box in a letter to Joan David which, to carry on the allegory, when opened released all the sins of the world. Hey! Steady on Percy! What a pity you could never enjoy this wonderful gift.

Yes, he did sell work reluctantly when he had no alternative but it hurt him deeply and he often asked for it back afterwards. I have met many of the lucky people who bought Kelly paintings - there are some famous names among them.

The story of his 5 exhibitions (only 2 in proper galleries) and commissions (few) is told in The Man who couldn’t stop Drawing.
In the meantime enjoy an hour’s good listening.