Date Posted: 23rd June 2018

Corner of the garden. Gouache . 65 x 90 cm

A lot is happening in the wonderful world of Percy Kelly.  His fame is spreading so fast it is sometimes hard to keep up.

Exciting and ambitious projects are developing  -  small exhibitions in local schools from projects based on Kelly’s letters; invitations to give talks about Kelly to groups and societies and large scale national and international plans that I can’t disclose until I’m sure they will happen. Be patient and all will be revealed. Just stay tuned in and sign up for newsletters at the bottom of this page on the web site. One thing is for certain – Kelly is on the up!  In his final report at Carlisle College of Art his print department tutor wrote of his NDD  “This will take you to heaven”.  If there is such a place he may be looking down on all this fuss and feel pleased. (I hope!)

When I’ve been mailing out all the books, trails and catalogues I’ve looked at the interesting addresses and wondered about some of the people receiving them.  I posted one off to an address in Dublin only to discover a few weeks later that the recipient is leading an Irish Research Council project on the Irish Sea coast which of course involves West Cumbria and he found the West Cumbrian trails interesting.  He invited me to an advisory meeting at Muncaster Castle on the Cultural Value of Coastlines – a subject close to my heart.  As I drove to the early morning meeting yesterday with the mist still rising, the Irish Sea to my right and Eskdale and Wasdale to my left, I felt lucky to be living in such a diverse and beautiful county.  Driving through the castle gates past the lovely little church (how marvellous to have your very own church) the hoots and squawks of the Castle’s rescued owls greeted me.  Before going into the meeting I strolled through the gardens to the front of the castle to take in the view down the coast to Black Combe and beyond.  I had the place to myself before the world gently intruded.  It was breathtaking.

Of course the Tullie House exhibition and television have created a lot of interest in Kelly’s work.   In the last few months a few people have ventured up here, some from the deep south to see where Kelly hung out ,to walk the trails and or acquire a piece of his work. They are getting hooked of course. This happened to a delightful couple last weekend who began to walk the trails and ended up at Glen Cottage in Allonby where they found the owner Richard cleaning the windows. He showed them round so they had an extra bonus as well as coming back to buy a painting from me.

Percy has inadvertently done so much for tourism in Cumbria -  and has drawn attention to the fascinating coastal area. What a shame he didn’t allow this to happen in his lifetime.  His exhibition at Tullie House opened the eyes of many thousands of people to the quality and diversity of his lifetime’s output as well as finding out what Carlisle can offer and how accessible it is by rail (and air soon) so it was pleasing to find that Tullie House was on Cumbria Tourism’s short list of 3 for an arts and tourism award for the Kelly exhibition. Four of us went down to Cartmel for the presentation dinner on Thursday.  Sadly Percy didn’t win but no matter, we all had a jolly good time (and the prosecco and elderflower cocktails were gorgeous).

It has been a busy week (Erm - every week seems to be like this these days)  Last night saw the opening of the Elisabeth Frink exhibition at Abbot Hall in Kendal.  Frink, one of the leading 20th century sculptors who I admire, died in 1993 at the early age of 63. I mounted a memorable exhibition of her work at Castlegate House in 2005 which many of you will remember so it was good to see more of her work outside London .

*I do have a few of Kelly's works (paintings, drawings and prints ) that I’m prepared to part with.  You can find a few paintings for sale on  Look in the Line of Beauty box to find paintings from the exhibition for sale and also in the Print box to find what is available there.  They are in the section marked Gallery.    E mail me through the web site if you want to know more.