Date Posted: 30th March 2015

Whitehaven panorama

It was good to see Percy Kelly’s little oil, Bridge in Winter, hold its own among some big names in the recent auction at Christies in London. It sold for £3000. If PK can sit next to Christopher Wood, Keith Vaughan, Edward Seago and other Twentieth Century luminaries, he is getting to where he deserves to be. Had he been less self- destructive in his lifetime he would be further on but this is how he wanted it. ‘I cannot paint for monetary gain,’ he wrote in reply to my letter asking for an exhibition in 1987. ‘I would rather starve than sell one piece of my work, but I know that when I depart from this world people will stop and wonder at the beauty and truth that I have endeavoured to portray.’ This meant that when he died in 1993 his reputation was built from a standing start. Nevertheless it has grown and gathered followers and collectors exponentially.

A reminder: I am giving an illustrated talk at the Cumbria Industrial History Society Conference at Shap Wells Hotel on Saturday 18th April.  The title is PERCY KELLY – ARTIST OF THE SAD AND CRUMBLING.  (not my title but I’ll stick with it and make it jollier than it sounds and show that there can be beauty and truth in the sad and crumbling). I will centre the talk on his industrial paintings and drawings which tell us a lot about Cumbria’s industrial heritage in the 50s and 60s. It will also show what has disappeared since then.
You can find the full day’s programme on as well as how to book and how to get to the venue.
I look forward to catching up with some of you there.

Have a safe and pleasant Easter break. If you get out on to the Percy Kelly Trails enjoy yourselves and  don’t forget to send me some feedback.