Chris Wadsworth
Percy Kelly - Looking East to the Ennerdale Fells
Writer and Art Consultant

9th November 2015

LIFE CLASS The memoir of an accidental gallerist

Cover Michael Bennett Dream Valley

 At last, the book you’ve been waiting for.  The book I’ve been promising you for ages will be launched on Sunday 6th March 2016 at the Literary Festival at Theatre by the Lake in Keswick.

‘But ‘I hear you cry, ‘you promised it before Christmas!’

Fear not. You will have it. The publisher is sending a few hundred pre-publication  copies straight off the press within the next  2 weeks.  And it gets better – I will be at Castlegate  House in Cockermouth  Saturday 5th December between 12.00 and 2.00 to see you and sign them.  I’m really looking forward to catching up with you all.

For those too far away to pick them up that day you can order on the web page and we will post them off to you as soon as they arrive. The word has gone round already (I don’t know how) and pre orders are rushing in as I write.  People are ordering a few (at £8.99 for 286 pages it makes a good stocking filler – somebody’s ordered 12) so be quick and get them before the official publication date in mid February 2016 when they will hit the bookshops, Kindle and 1-books.

Even better still (can you believe it?) it is an interactive book. Feedback from Hercules and the Farmer’s Wife told me readers wanted to see the art I was writing about. Colour printing demands really good paper and is a costly process so, to keep the book  affordable, I have put all the relevant images on the website.  Go to  You can read the book and see the images on your computer, tablet or I-phone.

‘So what is the book about?’ you might ask.

It is a memoir drawn from my 25 years at Castlegate House which was like an extended Life Class - a lesson in observation and response. Thousands of people came through that big front door with the brass lion’s head knocker during that time - each of them different;  artists, art lovers, eccentrics - the good, the bad and the ugly – and often wildly unpredictable interesting  people. I never knew what would happen next but something usually did. It was never boring.

There are stories about wonderful artists, frustrating artists, talented and annoying art students, mad clients (no not you of course not!) and lovely people who have become close friends. Learn about the Royal Academician with a Crazy Heart, the worrying visit from The Knob Man and the enforced purchase of a pair of Magic Knickers in Glasgow as well as dinner in Soho with a man who could predict Grand National winners (well he said he could), the discovery of a Ben Nicholson Relief in an unlikely place and a swift escape from Christies Auction House on a number 14 bus with a ‘stolen’ Sheila Fell painting.  

Life Class is in turn hilarious, informative and deeply sad. To quote writer and literary critic Blake Morrison   Chris Wadsworth is a born storyteller. With its cast of painters, hustlers and eccentrics, her memoir reads more like a comic novel at times. If you've ever wondered what it's like to run a provincial art gallery, this is the book for you.  

You can order now on the web site and we will post them out as soon as they arrive  or arrange for you to pick them up but better still call in at the gallery for a copy. Any queries e mail

I also have more exciting news but I’ll save it for a bit. You can’t do with too much excitement all at once can you?  You’ll just have to be patient.

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