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

12th October 2016


pink egg no more

Having hung more than a thousand exhibitions over the last 30 years, I’ve never been faced with flexible walls before.  So I had great fun last Tuesday mentally hanging virtual paintings on moveable walls at Tullie House in Carlisle. It was tricky. The problem was the sheer scale of it. There was too much choice and too many variables. To confuse the issue I was working around a lot of Deadly Dragons – the current exhibition in the gallery! With more than 750 Percy Kelly works on offer for next year’s exhibition and with so many configurations for the layout it would have been easy to run totally out of control. But with the calm guidance of Melanie Gardner, the gallery’s in-house curator, I have cracked it and thoroughly enjoyed my day playing god.

So the long time anticipated Percy Kelly Retrospective  is going to be spectacular. It will run from September 23rd 2017 – January  28th 2018 ( That’s right – it’s a year ahead).  A hundred selected  paintings plus letters, sketchbooks and  artefacts will illustrate the development of Kelly as an artist across a  60 year span. There will be many paintings which have never been seen before so get the dates in your diary, have patience. There will be a good collectable catalogue and I will keep you informed about developments. I have just contacted the owners of the selected works but if you have offered yours and heard nothing as yet, hold on. Don’t despair. It is now 3 years  since I first approached people so it is possible that in some cases circumstances have changed and the work is no longer available or untraceable.  If so  I will turn to the original list again. There is certainly no shortage of really good pieces on offer.

Still on the subject of moving walls – ours have just  moved about  10 miles. With the stalwart help of Macthemover  and his merry men from Workington we have managed the great leap from the wilderness into the urban. Moving is always painful. We still have boxes to unpack, we can’t find essential things like corkscrews when we most need them and we’ve only managed to hang one picture but it is lovely in a totally different way. We are closer to town with its ameneties. We can nip in to Booths for freshly baked croissants for breakfast, the cinema and theatre are a  short walk or a few minutes drive away. The views are still spectacular but different.

I miss the old house a lot; mainly The Pink Egg, my writing room, which looks straight up Skiddaw. Also the clear natural  water which comes from a spring on the fellside (water  and sewage rates have come as a shock after 16 years for free); the wildlife – red squirrels, woodpeckers, badgers, hares, buzzards, tree creepers and much more; the walks straight from the door to Dash Falls and the Cock ups; the lack of light pollution; the underfloor heating; our lovely neighbours Brian and Marlene. Oh dear, better not go on or I’ll crack up.

People have often asked me over the years which artists Michael and I collect personally. Understandably we have always been quite secretive about where we lived. (Unlike the ubiquitous  Kim Whatsername, we didn’t want to invite crime even though we don’t own any ridiculously valuable jewellery.)  However  I did agree to a feature article in this month - October’s -  Cumbria Life – our county magazine.  Six pages  of beautiful photographs of the house we lived in for 16 years all taken  before we moved out but published after we’ve gone. So we have a great memento of the house we loved which is now on the market.  I hope somebody nice buys it. I will always love it and remember it wistfully.


Life Class is now £5 on Amazon. It is now the same on this web site (see Publications).  So order while you can.  Makes a good present – I’m not saying the dreaded C word.

  • I have a lot of e mails piling up which I haven’t answered.  Be patient. Been a bit busy. Will do in time. I still love you all!

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