Date Posted: 25th September 2017

The White House  Oil on board

Walking through the shopping precinct and on past Carlisle Cathedral on Saturday I was meeting people I knew who were all heading in the same direction.  They were going to see Percy Kelly in all his glory in Line of Beauty at Tullie House  The afternoon brought close on 200 people to the gallery. People had travelled a long way: from Brittany, the south coast of England, London, Sussex, Edinburgh, Cheshire and it was a treat for me to watch them enjoying it all. 
Having been in lockdown in the gallery at Tullie House every day last week all was at last revealed on Friday evening when the doors to the gallery were opened and the staff and the 40 - 50 people who had generously loaned work for 4 months were invited to come and see it in place. It was a dramatic reveal. Everyone was surprised to see the full span of Kelly's work. They saw many works which have never been exhibited before. Even Melvyn Bragg who had met Kelly at his cottage in Norfolk was astonished at the sheer scope and genius of the man and was fascinated by his unusual life story.  Kelly had refused to sell to him in 1981 and we have several letters on show from Melvyn to Kelly on South Bank headed paper hoping to visit and buy but such was Kelly's obsessive retentiveness that he had to wait until 1994 when I mounted the first exhibition after Kelly’s death at Castlegate House to buy one which he has kindly lent to us .
There is so much to see and absorb that most people have said they intend to visit again. You need at least 1 – 2 hours to absorb everything.

There will be several events during the exhibition which I will flag up here and  in subsequent newsletters.
Saturday 14th October at 11am and 2.00 pm I will be doing a 30 minute conducted tour £7.50  (members free)
Thursday 2nd November at 7.30 An evening with Chris Wadsworth (that’s me again!) £15  (members £12) when I hope to involve some people who knew Kelly from art college days and beyond.
Saturday 11th November 10am – 4pm is a symposium on the arts and well being – a subject close to my heart. More details to come.
Saturday 21st January 1pm – 5pm  Percy Kelly -  an afternoon of talks from various experts and enthusiasts. £15, (members £12).

There are extra events like next Sunday 1st October for members only when I will give a short illustrated talk in the lecture theatre before leading a conducted tour of the exhibition answering questions and drawing attention to some of the works with a story attached (and there are plenty of those) and tea in the function room. It costs £20 to become a member for a year with unlimited visits to the gallery and museum. It is well worth it.

All these things are evolving and gathering memento and I will alert you to them in advance and give you more details. There may be more member- only events I believe.  In addition, I intend to be in the gallery at least once a week to answer questions and meet up with old friends.

So at last the long awaited show is here for you to enjoy.