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

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.

Post-Lockdown 2, lights on for More Things To Do in and around York and at home. List No 20, courtesy of The Press, York

Travelling players: York Theatre Royal pantomime stars Robin Simpson’s dame, Faye Williams’ hero, Reuben Johnson’s villain, Anna Soden’s fairy and Josh Benson’s comic. Picture: Ant Robling

EXIT LOCKDOWN 2, enter Tier 2 for York and North Yorkshire, Tier 3 for next-door neighbours The Humber and West Yorkshire.

That means plenty of openings and re-openings for Charles Hutchinson to highlight, but no roads leading to Leeds, Hull or…Pocklington.

The pantomime season in York

NO Dame Berwick Kaler comeback in Dick Turpin Rides Again at the still-closed Grand Opera House, alas, but after two nights at the Theatre Royal this week, York Theatre Royal’s Travelling Pantomime will be making its way around York’s wards until December 23.

Dame for a laugh: Alex Weatherhill’s Dame Trott in York Stage’s Jack And The Beanstalk at Theatre @41 Monkgate, York. Picture: Charlie Kirkpatrick

Audience members will vote for whether they want to see Jack And The Beanstalk, Dick Whittington or Snow White. All performances have sold out but more may yet be added.

Tickets are still available for York Stage’s Jack And The Beanstalk, directed by Nik Briggs and choreographed by West End hotshot Gary Lloyd at Theatre @41 Monkgate from December 11 to January 3. Fans of York drag diva Velma Celli should look out for creator Ian Stroughair’s transformation into baddie Flesh Creep.

The Marian Consort: Live at the NCEM for the York Early Music Christmas Festival and online for York Christmas At Home

Festival at the double for 2020: York Early Christmas Music Festival, National Centre for Early Music, York, December 4 to 12 and York Christmas At Home, December 11 to 13

THE 2020 York Early Music Christmas Festival will be not one, but two festivals, one at the NCEM, the other online. Festive concerts will be performed with Covid-secure safety measures and cabaret-style seating at St Margaret’s Church, Walmgate, York, complemented by a new digital weekend festival.

York Christmas At Home will be streamed from December 11 to 13, with the Yuletide music concerts available on demand throughout the Christmas period until January 6 2021.

Performing live will be Palisander, The Marian Consort, Illyria Consort, Joglaresa, The York Waits and Bethany Seymour, Helen Charlston, Frederick Long and Peter Seymour. Add The Chiaroscuro Quartet, Matthew Wadsworth and Kate Bennett Wadsworth, Spiritato!, Steven Devine and Stile Antico to that list for the At Home programme.

On your mask, get set, go: Susan Bower’s Christmas Party 2020, newly on show at Kentmere House Gallery, York

Post-Lockdown 2 gallery re-opening: Kentmere House Gallery, Scarcroft Hill, York, from this evening (3/12/2020)

NEW work by Susan Bower, John Thornton and Rosie Dean has arrived at Kentmere House Gallery in good time for Christmas. Ann Petherick will re-open her home art-space tomorrow evening from 6pm to 9pm, followed by weekend opening each Saturday and Sunday until December 20 from 11am to 5pm.

Oils, watercolours, pastels and original prints by 70 British artists are on display, along with books, greetings cards and Christmas cards exclusive to the gallery.

Visits arranged by appointment will be resuming too, on 01904 656507 or 07801 810825 or by emailing ann@kentmerehouse.co.uk.

Climate change: Danny Mellor and Anastasia Benham in Badapple Theatre Company’s The Snow Dancer

Christmas snow: Badapple Theatre Company, in The Snow Dancer, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, December 5, 2.30pm, 7.30pm; December 6, 1pm, 6pm

GREEN Hammerton’s Badapple Theatre revive their 2019 Christmas hit, The Snow Dancer, for two days only at the Covid-secure JoRo Theatre, newly equipped with chair wraps to denote the socially distanced seating plan.

Last year’s cast of Anastasia Benham and Danny Mellor will re-assemble to perform writer-director Kate Bramley’s cautionary global-warming tale, set in the Great Wood, where something is awry.

Welcome back: Stu Freestone wants a word with you at Say Owt’s December 11 return to live performance

Owt and about again: Say Owt word weavers at The Crescent, York, December 11, 7pm

SAY Owt, York’s loveable gang of performance poets, are back in live action for the first time since the summer for a night of socially distanced spoken word at The Crescent, re-opening that night with Covid-secure measures and a seated capacity of 60.

Stepping up to the mic will be Say Owt’s A-team of Henry Raby, Hannah Davies, Stu Freestone and Dave Jarman, joined by special guest poets Katie Greenbrown and Ruth Awolola.

“The night will feature a set of banging poems, full of wit and humour to warm your soul this December,” says artistic director Raby. “Expect some brand-new pieces, improv poetry and a few silly surprises hiding up our spoken-word sleeves.”

A guided quest with Potions Professor, magical spells and afternoon tea add up to A Very Magical Christmas on the streets of York

New children’s attraction of the week in York: A Very Magical Christmas, York city centre, until January 5

FROM the creators of A Very Magical Adventure comes A Very Magical Christmas: a live interactive theatrical quest with magical spell-casting and a fun, festive afternoon tea with special effects to knock your socks off. Even a visit from old St Nicholas is promised.

The quest will begin at St Michael le Belfrey, where you will meet your guide, the Potions Professor from Old Jacob’s School of Magic, who will teach you how to cast spells and find clues that will lead you to the secret location of the wizard school. For more details, go to averymagicaladventure.co.uk.

A Peter Rabbit Winter Adventure Activity Trail: Solve clues at Beningbrough Hall on various dates in December

Children’s attraction of the week outside York: A Peter Rabbit Winter Adventure Activity Trail, Beninbrough Hall, Beningbrough, near York, December 5 and eight other open days, 10am to 3pm

GRAB a £2 goody bag per child while stocks last, complete with an activity sheet, pencil, certificate, badge and play pack, to embark on a family-friendly Peter Rabbit Winter Adventure Trail in the Beningbrough Hall gardens and grounds.

The task is to solve the clues to help Peter and his friends prepare for the winter ahead, while spotting nature in all its seasonal glory. Expect to find Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Mr Jeremy Fisher, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail before having your photograph taken beside the Peter Rabbit board.

Do check availability of the goody bags before setting off at nationaltrust.org.uk/beningbrough-hall-gallery-and-gardens

Ghost story for Christmas: Alan Ayckbourn has voiced all the roles for the Stephen Joseph Theatre’s audio version of his 1994 play Haunting Julia. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

And what about?

TUNE into Alan Ayckbourn’s ghost story for a winter chill, his 1994 play Haunting Julia, in an audio version for the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, with all three roles voiced by Ayckbourn, at  sjt.uk.com/event/1078/haunting_julia until January 5.

Don’t miss the SJT’s Christmas show, Nick Lane’s one-woman version of The Snow Queen, starring Polly Lister at some shows, Jacoba Williams at others, from December 7 to 31.

York Barbican has been busy booking shows for 2021: artist and TV presenter Grayson Perry’s existentialist distraction from the very meaningless of life, A Show For Normal People, September 6;  London indie-pop trio Scouting For Girls, October 10; astronaut Tim Peake’s Journey Into The Unknown, November 2, and comedian Sarah Millican’s Bobby Dazzler, November 12 and 13.

“You’ll leave safe and warm in the knowledge that nothing really matters anyway,” promises Grayson Perry

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

Kentmere House Gallery may be shut but owner Ann Petherick rallies around artists

Man at easel: David Greenwood painting in his garden

KENTMERE House Gallery owner Ann Petherick is determined to champion “great art from troubled times”.

Her gallery doors in Scarcroft Hill, York, may be shut amid the Coronavirus lockdown, but nevertheless Ann has issued a rallying call to support artists still busy being creative.

“Artists are not quitters – and in any case have to eat, pay rent, buy materials, etc. – so it’s likely that all of them are hard at work in their studios in enforced isolation,” she says.

Rosie Dean outside her studio

“Artists need to sell, so for those of you who are indoors and bored with looking at bare walls, or at the same old images, the gallery is open online and you’re very welcome to browse kentmerehouse.co.uk.”  

Ann has original paintings and artists’ prints by more than 70 artists, all unique to the gallery, at prices ranging from £30 to £2,000, as well as illustrated books by artists, priced £10 to £30, again unique to Kentmere House.

Gallery regular Susan Bower lives near Tadcaster, where she works from a spacious studio built by her husband, a former GP-turned-joiner and restorer of old fire engines. “The studio is lined with around 100 paintings: finished work waiting to be sent to galleries all over the country, work in progress, and postcards and cuttings for inspiration,” says Ann. “Dogs and grandchildren are banned but manage to sneak in nevertheless.”

John Thornton in his garden studio

John Thornton has a garden studio, self-built and looking on to a delightful sheltered garden. “Prevented from making his usual regular trips to the coast, he’s contenting himself with re-creating the scenes he loves,” says Ann.

“Likewise, Rosie Dean, always one of the most popular artists from York Open Studios, is working on her impressive seascapes from her terraced house in York.”

Suffolk artist Tessa Newcomb paints at her cottage near Aldeburgh. “Cats are always in evidence, and it’s necessary to pick your way carefully across the floor as paintings are everywhere!” says Ann. “It is perhaps fortunate that most of her work is fairly small.”

Ann Petherick surrounded by art at Kentmere House Gallery

David Greenwood now lives in Keighley, where he is lucky to have a garden to paint in, says Ann. “The ongoing cancellations of race meetings are a disappointment to him but he can still enjoy the canal walks that give him much inspiration,” she enthuses. “Like so many artists, he has plenty of sketches from previous visits to work on, along with the ideas in his head.”

Rosemary Carruthers always enjoyed her visits to York, where on several occasions she was artist-in-residence at the York Early Music Festival. “She’s now based in a new house in Holt in Norfolk, where she has a new garden to occupy her considerable gardening skills but retains time for painting her exquisite oils of musicians too.”

Ann updates her website, kentmerehouse.co.uk, regularly and frequently posts on Twitter @kentmere_h_gall. “One day I may even figure out how to deal with Instagram,” she says.