Date Posted: 24th November 2017

First snow
Snow fell in the night

Every time I walk in to Tullie House there are people I know. It’s never empty and it’s lovely to see people enjoying the exhibition.  There are so many familiar names in the visitors’ book that I wish I could be there all the time but it is physically impossible.  Of course everyone is coming to see the works of Kelly not me but I am hoping to get in to the exhibition at least most Saturdays until the end of January while the exhibition runs.  And how it runs!  Lovely comments appear in the visitors’ book and encouraging messages appear in my in in-box all the time.  A good one this week made me smile – ‘The best exhibition I’ve seen since the Lucien Freud at The Hayward in 1974’.  Cripes –  hold on a minute, that’s going a bit far. Some of you weren’t even born then! The most common comment is about the size and scope of Kelly’s work because there are many works hitherto unseen.  The place is never crowded and people are spending a long time there. There is a lot to see and absorb.

Although PK’s reputation has been gradually growing since his work was liberated from solitary confinement in Pear Tree Cottage in 1993, I am disappointed that the National critics haven’t made it this far despite it being a fast comfortable train journey from london and within pleasant walking distance from Carlisle station.  A few weeks ago at a friend’s memorial service in Ennerdale, I was surprised to see the memorable face of the BBC’s Arts Editor, Will Gompertz,in the pew behind me.  I tried but failed to get him to make a diversion – he was rushing off to Abu Dhabi for the new Tate opening there. What has Abu Dhabi got that Kelly at Tullie House hasn’t I asked myself?  So if any of you reading this happens to know a national art critic who isn’t afraid to come north – tell them what they’re missing please. They will be very well looked after!

Line of Beauty catalogues have crossed the Atlantic, the English Channel, the Mediterranean and up to Norway where they’ve seen the last of the daylight for several months so they need a bit of Percy to brighten their dark lives.  (No wonder so many noir films and books emanate from there.)  Tullie House is also in its Winter Season of opening times so take note. The exhibition is open every Monday - Saturday from 10.00 am until 4.00 pm and Sundays from 12 noon until 4.00 pm. It is only closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day so it makes a good venue for families to gather in the festive season when everyone’s getting bored. It is a warm, welcoming place which is child friendly and will give everyone plenty to talk about. The admission ticket to gallery and museum is a steal at £6.50 because it covers as many visits as you wish for a whole year and children under 18 are free.  Perfect. 

In the meantime it’s a good place for Christmas shopping but be aware that the Percy Kelly Calendars are now down to a few in the Tullie shop and on the Kelly web site.They will all be long gone before we ring in the New Year and  I don’t intend to do a reprint. 

Newlands Church - The Tullie House etching - in a limited edition of just 75 – is only available at Tullie House and by post on the Kelly web site and makes a very special present at £250. They have a framed one on show in the foyer.  If you can’t get to Carlisle you can order on line www.percykelly.co.uk/merchandise where you can have items posted to you or to a different address with a Kelly gift card.  Easy.