Date Posted: 27th April 2024

9'Oclock - Vilde village in Brittany
Etching. edition of 75

Hello everybody. What a mad and exciting few weeks we just had. The Scene and Unseen exhibition at Theatre by the Lake in Keswick pulled in Kelly fans  from as far away as London, Edinburgh, Hampshite, Nottingham and  Northumberland as well as lots of locals.  These weren’t casual tourists but dedicated Kelly  followers and collectors. I was in almost every day and loved the reunions, the memories, the catch up  and the stories exchanged.

 With the help of Sal and Tony Calvin who many of you met at the exhibition we sadly  began dismantling the exhibition last Monday amid the comings and goings  of scenery, sets and actors as The little shop of horrors and its voracious plant Audrey II moved on for its next meal and Northanger Abbey – a modern take on the titular Jane Austen novel  arrived and opens on Tuesday. People also  came to claim their precious Kelly purchases from the exhibition. Quite a lot are now in my hall in Portinscale waiting to be collected.  I love this bit when people can take  possession and hang their paintings at home. The theatre looks very bare now though.

A big surprise for me was the growing popularity of Kelly’s work. On the opening day there was a queue outside hours before the 12 noon opening time followed by a stampede and then tears (buying a painting is very emotional).  All the etchings made from Kelly’s plates  were snapped up quickly and several popular editions sold out but those within the 75 edition limit have been ordered.  Robert Adam of Graal Press in Edinburgh has started printing them from Kellys beautiful plates.  It is long and highly skilled process and I will be in touch when all orders are ready, I can  send the  more distant ones by Special Delivery.

Some of you have been disappointed to miss the film showings as they were fully booked as soon as dates were released. Keep your eye on my newsletters as I will notify you of any extra showings and anything else of interest going on.

To my delight I have some very good news. The Words by the Water Festival is coming back to the theatre 5-9th June with a big lively programme covering all tastes and interests from a cyclist with a cello strapped to his  50 year old  Dawes Galaxy to  ride from  Hadrian’s Wall to Rome  giving recitals on the way to  broadcaster  and music man Stuart Maconie walking around England  in the footsteps of JB Priestly. Helen Rebanks will be talking about her life as a Cumbrian farmer’s wife and Keswick writer Ros Roberts draws our attention to renowned landscape painter James Durdon whose work is displayed in Keswick museum.  There is masses more. You can pick up the full programme at the bookshops, the theatre, on line and everywhere we can reach. It will be 5 days packed with ideas, discussion and knowledge.  It is a brave and risky move to revive a 20 year old established event dogged by Covid and illness.  Let’s help to make it work.


  • I spoke to a very nice gentleman after the second film presentation in the studio where I had shown a watercolour of a church in Caen Normandy dated 1945 painted when Kelly went back to France in the Royal Signal regiment to repair or rewire vital communications which had been damaged. He wrote about going out one evening after work and seeing this church in ruins which he thought was beautiful. The man told me he had lost a close relative in Caen and asked if I had the drawing and would sell it to him. I didn’t get his name or details. Please get in touch if you are reading this. I was tired after a very full day and apologise.