Allotments produce autumn debut show by Stephen Todd at Kentmere House Gallery

Preparing For Autumn, by Stephen Todd, at Kentmere House Gallery, York

STEPHEN Todd’s allotment produce is on show for the first time at Kentmere House Gallery, Scarcroft Hill, York.

“As the gallery is surrounded by allotments, it seems entirely appropriate to mount an exhibition of them,” reasons curator Ann Petherick.

“I have in any case always found that artists are fascinated by them: everyone from Stanley Spencer to Tessa Newcomb.  Is it something about the contrast between orderliness and chaos maybe?”

Allotments In Autumn will be on show until December 6, marking the York debut of Todd, a Sheffield artist who has exhibited in London with the New English Art Club, as well as at many regional galleries and internationally too in Brussels, Belgium, and Sofia, Bulgaria. Solo shows have been held at The Ropewalk, Barton-upon-Humber, and Cupola Gallery, Sheffield.

Spring On Its Way, by Stephen Todd, from his allotment series of paintings

“Stephen’s work combines painting, drawing and occasionally photography, and along with allotments, it encompasses landscapes, seascapes, estuaries and the human form at prices ranging from £300 to £500,” says Ann.

“Painting and drawing are fundamentally about instinctive responses, and my work is based on strong mark making, often incorporating text, whether legible or not,” says Stephen. “Ultimately my work attempts to be strong, visual and aesthetic in quality.

“I paint places where I have an emotional connection, either personal or through ideas and thoughts that interest me. They provide a location where I can explore ideas, from personal history to classical references to the process of painting itself. The Humber Estuary is a major source of inspiration.”

Artist Stephen Todd at work in his Sheffield studio

In addition to his exhibitions, Todd has received awards to undertake research projects at places of historic significance, such as classical sites in Greece and Turkey, the Celtic Roman Rig in South Yorkshire and the Neolithic site of Arbor Low in Derbyshire.

“I’m interested in exploring the relationship between meaning and evidence of the past: how it affects what we observe and how we recollect it. How do we determine what we see? How do we ‘construct facts’?” he ponders.

Kentmere  House Gallery is open on the first Saturday and Sunday of each month, 11am to 5pm; on Thursday evenings, 6pm to 9pm, and at other times by arrangement on 01904 656507 or 07801 810825 or by taking a chance on ringing the bell. “Please phone in advance if travelling any distance,” advises Ann.

Whitby, seascape, by Stephen Todd

Ruth Claydon’s Free Spirit jewellery collection goes on show at Kentmere House Gallery from Thursday evening

Bridge Over Troubled Water, jewellery, by Ruth Claydon

IN a new venture at Kentmere House Gallery, York, Ruth Claydon’s jewellery show will be launched on Thursday (22/7/2021) from 6pm to 9pm.

York designer Claydon’s Free Spirit collection will be complemented by the sensitive and intricate paintings of York Minster by Susan Brown, the gallery’s resident artist from West Yorkshire.

On display too will be work by the regular stable of artists at Ann Petherick’s gallery in Scarcroft Hill, as well as artists’ prints.

“It’s the perfect match for a gallery selling original art, as each of Ruth’s pieces is completely unique, made using mud-larking finds and interesting artefacts, along with her own vintage and pre-loved jewellery gathered over the years,” says Ann.

York Minster, window detail, mixed media, by Susan Brown

Claydon’s Free Spirit collection is a creative collaboration with Conscious Apparel, an ethical clothing brand launched in York last year. Prices for her jewellery range from £38 to £128.

“I’ve always wanted to design in response to a clothing range,” says Ruth. “What makes this such an appropriate match is that all of the clothing is ethically produced, and some of their dresses are also crafted from upcycled sari fabric and thus completely unique.”

“At Thursday’s launch, customers have a chance to view and try on the jewellery at the same time as seeing the gallery’s range of original art, with prices from £150,” says Ann. “And with Simon & Garfunkel playing, in a nod to one of Ruth’s paintings being called Bridge Over Troubled Water, what could make for a better evening?!”

Regular opening hours at Kentmere House Gallery, 53, Scarcroft Hill, York, are: every Thursday, 6pm to 9pm; first weekend of each month, Saturday and Sunday, 11am to 5pm. “But we are happy to be open anytime, although we suggest ringing in advance, on 01904 656507 or 07801 810825, if you are travelling any distance. Or you can take a chance on ringing the bell if you are passing.”

Cluster, jewellery, by Ruth Claydon

More Things To Do in York and beyond as Step 3 gathers pace away from home. List No. 34, courtesy of The Press, York

York Minster, west front, by Susan Brown at Kentmere House Gallery, York

THE Roadmap route to recovery is becoming ever busier, like the roads into York. This has prompted Charles Hutchinson to resume his weekly, rather than fortnightly, eerie to spot what’s happening.

Exhibition launch of the week: Susan Brown, Kentmere House Gallery, Scarcroft Hill, York, until July 4

HUDDERSFIELD artist Susan Brown has returned to York Minster, one of her favourite locations for her architectural paintings, for her spring and summer show at Kentmere House Galllery, York.

Her artistic focus is on city life and our relationship with our environment, exploring the rhythm and movement within buildings and interiors, along with creating beautiful abstract paintings, inspired by still-life subjects and landscapes, with an emphasis on texture and pattern.

“Susan’s paintings are bold and striking, predominantly worked in watercolour and acrylic,” says gallery owner Ann Petherick. “The gallery is open anytime by prior arrangement or chance: you can ring 01904 656507 or 07801 810825 or email ann.petherick@kentmerehouse.co.uk, or just take pot luck by ringing the bell. Please ring in advance if travelling any distance.”

Kentmere House Gallery’s next open weekend will be on June 5 and 6, 11am to 5pm; the gallery has a weekly late-evening opening on Thursdays to 9pm.

Jonty Ward: Recital organist and director of music at St Lawrence Parish Church, York

Festival of the week: St Lawrence Trinity Festival, St Lawrence Parish Church, Lawrence Street, York, May 29 to June 5

A £410,000 restoration has perked up the 1885 Denman organ transferred from St Michael-le-Belfrey for installation by organ-building firm Nicholson & Co at St Lawrence Parish Church.

A celebratory festival programme will include a demonstration by Nicholson & Co ahead of the inaugural recital by Robert Sharpe, York Minster organist and director of music, on May 29 at 10.30am.

Further organ recitals will be performed by musicians associated with St Lawrence and the City of York: William Campbell, May 31, 4pm; David Norton, June 1, 4pm; St Lawrence director of music Jonty Ward, June 3, 4pm, and Timothy Hone, music and liturgy administrator at York Minster, June 4, 4pm. The Black Sheep Consort will give a 7pm recital on May 31.

Attendance is free, but booking is required for the Inaugural Recital at festival@stlawrenceparishchurch.org.uk.

A T-shirt to mark the Super Cool Drawing Machine exhibition at The Crescent, York

Hippest exhibition of the week in York: Yuppies Music presents Super Cool Drawing Machine, The Crescent, York, today (26/5/2021) until Sunday

YUPPIES Music’s touring exhibition of musicians’ “other” work, will run at The Crescent community venue for four days from today. This celebration of art created by international touring independent musicians is billed as a “much-needed exploration of fun stuff”, on show each day from 11am to 9pm with Covid-secure measures in place.

Under social distancing restrictions, attendees will have to book in advance, choosing a specific time slot to view the exhibition. Consequently, only a small number of tickets are available at £5 for each time slot at seetickets.com.

Among the artists will be will be trailblazing jazz saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings; Welsh singer/producer Cate Le Bon; experimental folk musician Richard Dawson; African-American experimentalist Lonnie Holley and drummer/composer Seb Rochford, plus members of This Is The Kit, Mammal Hands, Haiku Salut, Snapped Ankles and more besides.

Ben Caplan: Singer-songwriter, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, playing Pocklington Arts Centre in November. Picture: Jamie Kronick

Gig announcement of the week outside York: Ben Caplan, Pocklington Arts Centre, November 11, 8pm

CANADIAN folk-rock singer-songwriter Ben Caplan will play Pocklington on his European autumn tour. 

His extensive itinerary will mark the tenth anniversary of his October 2011 debut, In The Time Of The Great Remembering, and will follow hot on the heels of Recollection, a retrospective collection of stripped back re-interpretations of songs from his back catalogue, out in October. 

Venue manager James Duffy says: “I saw Ben perform at Cambridge Folk Festival in 2019 and was blown away. He has a fantastic stage presence and mixes a wonderful blend of musical styles from folk to gypsy through to rock. Imagine the love child of Tom Waits and Gogol Bordello and you’re getting somewhere close.”

Caplan’s support act will be fellow Canadian Gabrielle Papillon. Tickets are on sale at pocklingtonartscenytre.co.uk.

The girl next door in The Girl Next Door: Naomi Petersen in rehearsal for Alan Ayckbourn’s 85th premiere. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

Premiere of the week ahead: Alan Ayckbourn’s 85th play, The Girl Next Door, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, June 4 to July 3

THE SJT’s first in-house production of 2021 will be director emeritus Alan Ayckbourn’s The Girl Next Door, a lockdown love story.

Veteran actor Rob Hathaway is stuck at home during the summer of 2020 with only his sensible older sister for company. Rob has little to do but relive his glory days as fire-fighting wartime hero George “Tiger” Jennings in the nation’s favourite TV period drama, National Fire Service. 

Then, one day, Rob spots a stranger hanging out the washing in the adjoining garden, when the neighbours have not been around for months. Who is the mysterious girl next door? And why is she wearing 1940s’ clothing?

“The Girl Next Door is an affirmation of love across the generations,” says Ayckbourn. “I hope it’s positive and hopeful for those today crawling out of their metaphorical Anderson shelters blinking into the light.”

Benjamin Francis Leftwich: Playing The Citadel in his home city next February

Gig announcement for next year: Benjamin Francis Leftwich, The Citadel, Gillygate, York, February 25 2022

YORK singer-songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich, now resident in Tottenham, London, will return to his home city to play The Citadel on his 26-date British and Irish tour next year. 

The tour will follow the June 18 release of his fourth album, To Carry A Whale, on June 18 on the Dirty Hit label.

His first to be written and recorded entirely sober, it was made over four months last year at home, at Urchin Studios in Hackney, in a hotel room in Niagara and at a Southend studio owned by Sam Duckworth, of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Tickets are on sale at benjaminfrancisleftwich.com.

Susan Brown returns to York Minster architecture for Kentmere House show

York Minster, by Yorkshire artist Susan Brown

YORKSHIRE artist Susan Brown is exhibiting her architectural paintings of York Minster at Kentmere House Galllery, Scarcroft Hill, York, until July 4.

Her artistic focus is on city life and our relationship with our environment, exploring the rhythm and movement within buildings and interiors, along with creating beautiful abstract paintings, inspired by still-life subjects and landscapes, with an emphasis on texture and pattern.

Susan, who lives in Birdsedge, Huddersfield, exhibits both in Yorkshire nationally. Initially, she studied 3-D Design at Leeds College of Art, since when she has developed her two prime areas of interest, interior design and contemporary painting, in tandem.

The painting side of Susan has involved numerous commissions and several projects where she worked both as designer and artist.

York Minster, window detail, by Susan Brown

She paints theatrical and musical scenes, still life and landscape, but is most associated with her architectural subjects, especially cityscapes. “Her paintings are bold and striking, predominantly worked in watercolour and acrylic,” says Kentmere House Gallery owner Ann Petherick. “Her style is immediately recognisable.

“In recent years, she has focused on architectural studies of a range of European cityscapes, such as Prague, Lille, Paris Venice. Since lockdown, she has enjoyed her return to painting York.”

Susan’s musical interest has incorporated the role of artist-in-residence at the 1994 York Early Music Festival, as part of the series arranged by Kentmere House Gallery.

Her paintings appear in private and public contemporary art collections aplenty, among them Halifax Plc, Allied Domecq, the Sir George Martin Trust, the Universities of York and Sheffield, HBOS and the National Trust.

York Minster, West Front, by Susan Brown

Susan has exhibited at the Royal Academy, Royal Scottish Academy, Royal Watercolour Society and New English Art Club, as well as many independent galleries in London and across the country.

She has received many art prizes and awards, including the Laing Art Competition, Hunting Art Prize (regional winner) and Penrose Purchase Prize, and has published several books of her work. The latest, Landscape, will be published later this year, featuring her more abstract work.

“Susan has been showing at Kentmere House Gallery since 1990 and her new collection of paintings of York Minster is on show through late-May, throughout June and into early July,” says Ann. “The gallery is open anytime by prior arrangement or chance: you can ring or email, or just take pot luck by ringing the bell. Please ring in advance if travelling any distance.”

Kentmere House Gallery’s next open weekend will be on June 5 and 6, 11am to 5pm; the gallery has a weekly late-evening opening on Thursdays to 9pm. Ann can be contacted on 01904 656507 or 07801 810825 or at ann.petherick@kentmerehouse.co.uk.

Kentmere House Gallery to reopen from April 12 with Jack Hellewell’s Travels show

Arab World, Tunis, by Jack Hellewell (1920-2000)

“AT last the gallery is able to re-open,” says a relieved Kentmere House owner and curator Ann Petherick as she marks its 30th year in business by launching Jack’s Travels, her latest Jack Hellewell exhibition in York, on April 12.

“One of the gallery’s best-loved artists, the late Jack also had an anniversary to be celebrated last year: he would have been 100 in 2020,” says Ann, who first exhibited Hellewell’s work at her original gallery in Grape Lane before moving home and gallery to a Victorian former Methodist minister’s house at the bottom of Scarcroft Hill, overlooking Knavesmire, in 1991.

“Jack first showed with the Grape Lane Gallery in the 1980s and we’ve continued to present his artworks ever since. We had planned a series of exhibitions in celebration of his centenary but had hardly started on them when all had to stop because of the pandemic.

“They will now take place this year: the first, Jack’s Travels, will open next Monday and will include many paintings that have never before been shown.”

Arcade, by Jack Hellewell

Yorkshireman Jack Hellewell (1920-20000) not only travelled widely but he also lived in Australia. “All his experiences provided inspiration for his painting,” says Ann.

Born in Bradford, Jack trained as a painter at Bradford College of Art from 1949-1952 and lived in Menston and latterly in Ilkley. He saw war service in Egypt, North Africa and Italy and then worked as a graphic designer 

His travels with his family took him to Australia, New Zealand, the South Seas, Austria and frequently to Scotland. In 1976 he gave up his design work to become a full-time painter and returned to West Yorkshire.

“All his paintings were executed entirely from memory,” says Ann. “He always refused to sketch on site, believing that ‘it ties you down’, and everything was derived from personal experiences.

Socatra, Indian Ocean, by Jack Hellewell

“His travels and encounters had a dramatic impact on his painting and he had the ability to retain the essence of a place, so that years – or even decades later – he could produce a painting from it.

Much of his work used the visual experience of intense light in warmer climates, as compared with the more subtle light to be found in Britain.”

Jack always worked in acrylic, enjoying the contrasts it offered between strong and subtle colours and the feeling of movement that became such a feature in his work.  “He had the ability both to use the medium ‘neat’ on canvas, or to use it diluted on paper to give the effect of the most delicate watercolour,” says Ann.

Jack exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, in London, on several occasions in the 1990s and his work is in the collections of British Rail, the National Power Company, Rochdale Art Gallery, Manchester City Art Gallery and Provident Financial, Bradford, among others.

Sailing Hopefully, by Jack Hellewell

To mark next week’s socially distanced reopening, under Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap to recovery, the Covid-secure Kentmere House Gallery will be open every day for the initial week, Monday to Saturday, April 12 to 17, 11am to 5pm, with extended opening to 9pm on the Thursday.

The gallery then will revert to its usual pattern: opening on the first weekend of the month, from 11am to 5pm each Saturday and Sunday, complemented by late evenings from 6pm to 9pm every Thursday. “As always, visitors are welcome at any other time by ringing ahead or just taking pot luck by ringing the bell,” advises Ann, who can be contacted on 01904 656507 or 07710 810825.

Having founded Grape Lane Gallery in 1984, Ann and David Petherick bought Kentmere House in 1991 to combine a home with an art gallery. “Having seen galleries in homes in London, we could see the benefits for buyers of viewing paintings in a home setting and browsing in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere,” reasons Ann.

“For 30 years, we have searched out talented artists from throughout the UK and have thoroughly enjoyed doing so, meeting artists in their homes and studios, many of whom have become friends.

“For 30 years, we have searched out talented artists from throughout the UK and have thoroughly enjoyed doing so,” says Kentmere House Gallery curator Ann Petherick

“It has, of course, made the lockdown period more than ever frustrating, but we managed to fit in a few days in Edinburgh last September, after a brief trip to the Lake District earlier in 2020, and we’re eagerly planning visits to Oxford, Kent, Suffolk and Scotland in the near future.”

Many of the artists exhibited by Ann are nationally known names and members of national societies, specialising in semi-figurative work, with a gallery policy of combining regular exhibitors, such as Susan Bower, John Brunsden and Michael Ewart, with artists not yet known in the north or newcomers.

“All are unique to Kentmere House,” she says, eschewing the term “contemporary” to describe her stable of artistic talent. “The word ‘contemporary’ has been hijacked and is now used almost entirely to refer to abstract and conceptual work, when in fact it simply means being produced at this time.

“The result can be that many potential buyers find the art market confusing and intimidating and don’t know where to start.”

In other words, as the ever-forthright Ann would put it, Kentmere House Gallery would make a good start from April 12.

The entrance to Kentmere House Gallery and that all important bell to ring if making a chance visit

Book an art-filled present for Mothering Sunday at Kentmere House Gallery

A selection of Mascot Media art books available via Kentmere House Gallery in York

IF you are seeking a delightfully arty present for Mothering Sunday this weekend, Kentmere House Gallery owner Ann Petherick has a recommendation for you.

Books from niche publisher Mascot Media are available exclusively in York via her gallery in Scarcroft Hill.

“Mascot Media is a small Norfolk publisher specialising in beautifully illustrated books featuring paintings by living artists, mostly of animals, birds or gardens,” says Ann. “The books are priced from £10 to £25; delivery within five miles of York can be arranged before the weekend.”

Kentmere House Gallery owner Ann Petherick

Yorkshire artists include Emerson Mayes; Janis Goodman; Hester Cox; the former President of the Printmakers’ Society, Hilary Paynter; linocut printmaker H.J. Jackson and many more.

The gallery stock of paintings and prints is available too. “Just email me with your requirements; examples can be emailed to you, shown to you at our door or delivered to your door,” says Ann, who can be contacted at ann@kentmerehouse.co.uk or on 01904 656507.

Now’s the time to add finishing touch to your home revamp with artwork, urges Kentmere House curator Ann Petherick

Strictly, one of Susan Bower’s witty works, on show at Kentmere House Gallery, York

JANUARY is always a time to rethink what you want, in terms of home, job, friends and more besides, says Kentmere House Gallery owner Ann Petherick.

“Many people have spent time this year revamping their homes. Now, it’s time to add the finishing touch that will set your interior apart from the rest: original art,” she suggests. “It costs a lot less than you think and it will last you a lifetime.   

“With an original work from Kentmere House Gallery, you will have something that will complement the style of your home and express your personality in a way that a sofa or a cushion can’t.”

Kentmere House, relaxed home to Ann’s long-running gallery in Scarcroft Hill, York, shows the work of around 70 artists, many of them known nationally and exhibited nowhere else in the north.

Sunrise At Filey, by Kentmere House Gallery regular exhibitor John Thornton,

“Promising newcomers are shown side by side with established artists, so you can back your own judgement and identify the big names of the future,” says Ann. “All are at affordable prices and you can enjoy spending your Christmas gift money to buy that special piece of art you’ve always wanted.”  

Among the gallery’s new arrivals are Susan Bower’s witty family scenes, Keith Roper’s subtle semi-abstract landscapes and John Thornton’s striking seascapes and woodland scenes.

Kentmere House Gallery will be open on the first weekend of 2021, January 2 and 3, with reductions and special offers from 11am to 5pm each day. “All are welcome,” says Ann, whose home gallery also has late opening every Thursday evening, 6pm to 9pm, and welcomes visitors at other times by arrangement on 01904 656507 or 07801 810825.

Mask up for the new Susan Bower works going on show at Kentmere House Gallery UPDATED

Christmas Party 2020, by Susan Bower, in the year of the mask

NEW work by Susan Bower, John Thornton and Rosie Dean has arrived at Kentmere House Gallery, Scarcroft Hill, York, in good time for Christmas.

After the Government’s update on York’s Tier 2 status once Lockdown 2.0 ends, Ann Petherick will re-open her gallery on Thursday evening from 6pm to 9pm, followed by the usual first-weekend-of-the-month opening on December 5 and 6 from 11am to 5pm.

Oils, watercolours, pastels and original prints by 70 British artists, ranging in price from £50 to £2,000, are on display and for sale, along with books, greetings cards and Christmas cards exclusive to the gallery.

Ann has decided to open the gallery every weekend in the lead-up to Christmas until December 20, 11am to 5pm. Visits arranged by appointment will be resuming too, either by phone on 01904 656507 or 07801 810825 or by emailing ann@kentmerehouse.co.uk.

Best Friends Forever, by Susan Bower, newly installed at Kentmere House Gallery

Lockdown request prompts Kentmere House to launch Exchange Art scheme

Winter Hawthorn On Coastal Path, by John Thornton, price £280, at Kentmere House Gallery, York

LOCKDOWN affects people in different ways, notes Kentmere House Gallery owner Ann Petherick, who has come up with a new scheme in response.

“One of my customers rang: she had bought a fine painting from me 20 years ago by a Royal Academician and she had enjoyed it all that time, but lockdown had made her feel differently about it,” says Ann, who runs the gallery in her home in Scarcroft Hill, York

“So, she wondered if she could part-exchange it for another?  And I thought, ‘Why not?’. At a time like this, we have to look at everything differently and do things differently, and so Exchange Art was born.”

Autumn By The Lake, Ellerker House, by Bob Armstrong, price  £350

Under the new deal, any painting in good condition bought at Kentmere House can be considered for part-exchange.  “A valuation is offered and that amount can then be offset against the cost of another painting,” says Ann. 

“Exchange Art is a way for everyone to benefit: the buyer gets a change of scene, other artists sell their work and money circulates in the economy. It’s also a means of supporting the next generation of artists, whose careers will have been especially badly hit. 

“It’s always important to be looking out for the next generation, as they will become the national names of the future.  I have always found this an enjoyable and worthwhile process as – with no auction history to go on – you have to trust your own judgement and the feeling that you may have contributed in a small way to the development of an artist’s career is exciting.”

Approaching Twilight, by Rosie Dean, price £650

Acquiring art does not have to break the bank, stresses Ann. “At Kentmere House, we are proud to exhibit original art with an affordable price tag, so helping those who haven’t yet started their collection or those who wish to add to theirs,” she says.

The gallery stocks only originals – paintings and artists’ prints – by more than 70 artists, many of them nationally-known and members of national societies, at prices from £50 to £3,000. A selection of illustrated books by artists, priced from £10 to £30, is unique to the gallery.

Ann, by the way, has just received a new delivery of “fabulous paintings” by gallery favourite Susan Bower. “Shelter from the rain and come and see,” she tweeted on Tuesday morning.

Hilda’s Friend, by Susan Bower, price £1,200                      

Kentmere House Gallery’s formal opening hours are 11am to 5pm on the first weekend of each month, next up September 5 and 6, and late evening each Thursday to 9pm. “But in the present situation, we’re open anytime: just ring 01904 656507 or 07801 810825 to make an appointment or take pot-luck and ring the bell.”

The Kentmere House website, kentmerehouse.co.uk, is out of action but Ann updates the Twitter account regularly at twitter.com/Kentmere_H_Gall.

All’s well that’s Hellewell as Kentmere House re-opens by appointment only

Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire, by Jack Hellewell

KENTMERE House Gallery, in Scarcroft Hill, York, is re-opening from this week but by appointment only until further notice.

Ann Petherick would normally welcome visitors on Thursday evenings and the first Saturday and Sunday of each month, as well as by arrangement, but in these prevailing Covid-19 times, only the latter will apply for now…but even that is a welcome step forward in loosened lockdown.

To make a viewing appointment, contact Ann on 01904 656507 or 07801 810825 or at ann@kentmerehouse.co.uk.

On show is A Life In Colour, Work from the Studio of Jack Hellewell, 1920-2000, including unframed pieces never seen before.

Ann always intended to devote much of this year’s exhibition programme to Hellewell, as 2020 would have been his centenary year. “Since we had to close under the Coronavirus lockdown, we’ve been updating the website regularly, especially Jack’s section, featuring his views of Yorkshire and elsewhere,” she says.

North York Mpors, by Jack Hellewell

“Now we’re re-opening, there’ll be a rolling exhibition of Jack’s work, including works on paper and on canvas, with prices ranging from £500 to £1,500.”

After his death in 2000, Kentmere House Gallery was appointed to manage Jack’s artistic estate on behalf of his family, since when exhibitions have been held in Ilkley, Leeds, Stoke-on-Trent, Bristol, London and Vienna. “There were several more planned in 2020, although some may now have to be deferred to 2021,” says Ann.

Ever since Ann saw Jack’s work in a gallery in Ilkley 25 years ago, he has been one of her gallery’s most loved and respected artists and work from his studio is on show there permanently.

“Jack lived for his painting, describing himself as ‘a fanatical painter’ and spending all day and every day painting, especially after his wife died,” says Ann. “Towards the end of his life, his daughter said the only way she knew he was really ill was when he stopped painting

“He loved it when he sold work but hated having to be involved with the selling and, as a result, most of the work we show will never have been seen before outside his studio.” 

Ebb Tide, Filey, by Jack Hellewell

Jack’s attic flat overlooking Ilkley Moor was always neatly stacked with canvasses and work on paper. “Initially he would say ‘I haven’t done much’, and then the paintings would start to appear: astounding in their quality and consistency and always singing with colour,” says Ann.

“The gentlest, quietest and most modest of men, there were few who were privileged to know him, but he had a delightful sense of humour, which also appears in his paintings.”

Jack Hellewell was a Yorkshireman through and through. Born in Bradford in 1920, he trained as a painter at Bradford College of Art – where David Hockney studied too – from 1949 to 1952 and in later life lived in Menston and Ilkley. 

He saw war service in Egypt, North Africa and Italy and he then worked as a graphic designer. His travels with his family took him to Australia, Austria, New Zealand, the South Seas and, frequently, to Scotland.

In 1976, he gave up his design work to become a full-time painter, returning to West Yorkshire to do so.

Kentmere House Gallery owner and curator Ann Petherick

“All his work was executed entirely from memory – he always refused to sketch on site, believing that ‘it ties you down’ – and everything was derived from personal experiences,” says Ann.

“Jack’s travels and encounters had a dramatic impact on his painting and he had an amazing ability to retain the essence of a place, so that years – or even decades later – he could produce a painting from it.”

Much of his work used the visual experience of intense light in warmer climates, as compared with the more subtle light he found in Britain.  

“Jack always worked in acrylic, enjoying the contrasts it offers between strong and subtle colours, and the feeling of movement, which is such a feature of his work,” says Ann. “He had the ability both to use the medium neat on canvas or diluted on paper, the latter giving the effect of the most delicate watercolour.”

Jack exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition on several occasions in the 1990s; his work was featured on the Tyne Tees Television arts programme North-East Line and he has an entry in the definitive publication Artists In Britain Since 1945.

Kirkgate, Leeds, by Jonathan Hooper

“All this leads me to wonder how many other such artists there are: producing superbly rich and inspired work, yet largely unknown to the public and even more so to the art world, and never receiving a penny of public funding, nor any public recognition,” says Ann, who continues to ensure that all’s well that’s Hellewell by promoting his art assiduously in his centenary year.

Meanwhile, in an effort to keep spirits up during lockdown – not least her own Ann has been Tweeting a painting from her extensive stock every day, under the heading of Art For The Day at @Kentmere_H_Gall.

“I try to link it to something relevant – the weather, or an event happening that day, for example – and I enjoy scrolling through my stock every morning, sometimes finding paintings I’d forgotten I had,” she says.

“I also try to create a contrast from one day to the next, such as the subtlety of Keith Roper’s pastels of the Fens, then the vibrancy of Jonathan Hooper’s oils of Leeds street scenes. It makes a lovely collection to look back on.

“It seems that others agree as many have been re-Tweeted in an attempt to cheer up someone’s day.”

Buttercups & Daisies, by Susan Bower, Kentmere House Gallery favourite, Royal Society of British Artists member and Federation of British Artists online art fair exhibitor

Farther afield, Ann is delighted that, on the eve of its 60th anniversary, the trail-blazing Federation of British Artists has set up a new art fair at the Mall Galleries, London.

Inevitably, the 2020 Figurative Art Fair is online, showing contemporary figurative art by elected members of the country’s leading national art societies: The Pastel Society; Royal Society of British Artists; Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours; Royal Society of Portrait Painters; New English Art Club; Royal Society of Marine Artists; Society of Wildlife Artists and Royal Institute of Oil Painters.

“Kentmere House Gallery shows work by members of all these societies,” says Ann. “This is a very exciting development as, in recent years, art fairs have come to be associated mainly with conceptual work, serving to alienate much of the potential market. However, there are strong signs of a change, with figurative painting enjoying a revival. 

“At a time when artists and art institutions alike urgently need public support, this innovative venture will benefit artists across the country and give inspiration to all those who have become despondent at the appearance of their homes.

“It’s appropriate that the societies come together in this time of isolation to celebrate figurative art, contemporary artists, and the spirit of artistic collaboration.”

Fen Lane, Evening, by Pastel Society  member, Kentmere House regular and Federation of British Artists show exhibitor Keith Roper