Carel Weight 1908 – 1997 CBE, RA, RWA, RBA, LG
Born in Paddington, London in 1908, Carel Weight studied at the Hammersmith School of Art from 1926, where he met and befriended Ruskin Spear. He then went on to study at The Goldsmiths College until 1932. Exhibiting at the Royal Academy from 1931, he held his first solo exhibition two years later in 1933 and went on to exhibit for decades at galleries such as Zwemmer and the New Grafton Gallery, London
Carel Weight spent the latter war years as an official war artist, and upon return to the UK, took up a position as Tutor of Painting at the Royal College of Art. By 1957 he had progressed to the position of Professor of Painting, and was made Senior Fellow in 1983. During this time, many now world famous artists studied under his tutelage, including a young David Hockney.
Despite being recognised as a rather solitary figure, he had close friendships throughout his later life with many contemporary peers, including the aforementioned Ruskin Spear, Stanley Spencer, Mary Fedden and L S Lowry.
Carel was Elected to the Royal Society of British Artists in 1934, London Group in 1950, Royal West of England Academy in 1954, to the Royal Academy in 1955 (Associate) and 1965 (full Academician) and was awarded a CBE in 1962.
Carel Weight died in 1997 leaving a hugely distinctive body of British twentieth century art, and a lasting legacy, no less than at the Royal College of Art. Examples of his work can be found in numerous high profile public and private collections around the world, including the Tate and The Victoria and Albert Museum.
Born in Fletchertown, Cumbria in 1969, Helen grew up within West Cumbria, an area which has clearly influenced the art she now produces.
Leaving Cumbria aged 18, to study at the University of Manchester, Helen was to eventually settle in Edinburgh, where she now splits her time between with the Isle of Skye, looking to “get out of the city” as often as possible. With family ties remaining in West Cumbria, Helen also spends much time in and around the areas she grew up in, and uses much of this time as inspiration for her work.
It was in 1998 that Helen’s passion for painting took an even stronger hold and she began to widen her approach to what she was doing. As Helen herself points out “I started to play around with materials, giving up with watercolours and experimenting with chalk pastel, acrylic paint and more recently acrylic inks. I found that I was using brushes less and less, increasingly using my hands to dab, push and smooth out colour. Old credit cards, kitchen towels, crochet hooks and hairdryers all play a part in my painting. Painting is often messy with a random energy, letting the paint do its own thing and then working with the shapes it gives me.”
Having exhibited mainly in Scotland until we discovered Helen, we are delighted to have brought her work south of the border and into her home county.
Discovered in his shared studio in Selkirk, on the Scottish Borders, Alex is a young artist and the latest in a line of family members who have all become professional artists. Painting from the heart, and gut, painting drives Alex, each and every day.
Suffering a serious road traffic accident, it was art that became his recuperation, self medicating through paint. His use of texture creates a depth well beyond his years. A true talent not just in the making, but now.
We first came across Louis in the summer of 2014, at his graduation show at Wimbledon College of Arts. Individual certainly describes Louis’ work, with a depth and complexity that transcends the oft apparent simplicity of composition. Louis is a master of taking perspective and deconstructing parts, rearranging elements to unsettle the composition whilst at the same time gelling it all together; it’s a thoroughly intriguing approach and one that you find yourself getting more and more from the longer you live with a work.
Gaining a BA at Wimbledon, part of the St Martins campus of art schools, Louis was to return to his home town of Lancaster where he continues to painstakingly work towards each painting he produces. A prolific worker, but without prolific output; painting every day but with limited numbers emerging from his studio,
Louis was been shortlisted for the 2016 Contemporary British Painting Prize and also won the Lynn Painter Stainers Award for Young Artist of the year in 2015. From Autumn 2017 Louis has gained a position at the Royal College of Art to study for an MA in Painting.
Louis has had tremendous success since leaving art school, and we’re thrilled to be representing him.
Born in Oxford in the latter stages of the nineteenth century, Winifred was an early starter at art school, at just eleven. In 1920 she married the thereafter and now internationally renowned artist Ben Nicholson, whom was to credit Winifred with much of his development in the use of colour.
Jointly part of the “St. Ives” movement (although arguably Winifred was more on the periphery) Ben was to leave Winifred for the famous sculptor Barbara Hepwoth, also a member of the “group”. Following a spell residing in Paris after her divorce, Winifred was to move to Cumberland, firstly at Boothby and latterly at Bankshead, near Lanercost, where she lived until her death in 1981.
Widely exhibited, written about and critically acclaimed, Winifred has become recognised as one of the most enduring and important of British artists of the last century. She is known for her trademark of capturing still lifes through open windows, but her work also spans her trips to both Scotland and Greece, where a more vivid colour palette emerged.
Significant works are held by many prestigious public and private collections, including the Tate, UK Government Collection and Tuille House, Carlisle
Geoffrey Key 1941
Geoffrey Key was born in Manchester in 1941. Attending Manchester’s High School of Art, he progressed in 1958 to degree and post graduate studies at the Manchester Regional College of Art. Successful studies lead to a post graduate scholarship in sculpture, and the award of the Heywood medal in Fine Art and the Guthrie Travelling Scholarship.
Now in his sixth decade as an artist, Geoffrey Key's painting style is instantly recognisable; almost a unique blend of early twentieth century avant garde with modern twenty-first century observation. His colour palette has developed over time, from muted tones, to the vibrant use of colour he is now so well known for. Geoffrey Key has had numerous solo exhibitions and is regarded as one of the most important and striking artists working in the UK today.
Geoffrey Key's works are held in international private collections, and can be seen in many UK public collections, including The Manchester Art Gallery, Salford Art Gallery, National Art Library and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Born in 1931, Sheila Fell grew up in Aspatria, a typical West Cumbrian mining village. Whilst gaining a place at the Carlisle College of Art at 17, within two years she had obtained a place at St. Martin’s School of Art, London. Here, she befriended Frank Auerbach, amongst other contemporaries, and went on to teach at the Chelsea School of Art.
Sheila Fell held her first exhibition in 1955, courtesy of Beaux Arts, London. It was from this that she met L S Lowry, who purchased a number of paintings from this exhibition, and many more in the years that followed. This was to be a friendship that lasted until Lowry’s death in 1976. Indeed, he assisted her financially to the tune of £3 per week for two of her early London years.
Acclaimed by critics, collectors and her peers, she began exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1965, being elected an Associate Member of the Royal Academy in 1969, and a fully blown Member of the Royal Academy in 1974.
Sheila Fell died in 1979, aged just 48. It is likely that she only painted some six to seven hundred paintings during her life, but what arguably makes them so powerful is her almost unique ability to convey the emotion inherent in a landscape; not just the landscape itself, but the impact it has on you. As Lowry suggested, Sheila Fell was arguably the greatest landscape painter of her age.
Many of Sheila’s paintings are held in major public and private collections throughout the UK, including the Tate Gallery, Walker Art Gallery and in the Government Art Collection.
In our search for new art talent, we travel much of the UK and visit countless Art School graduation shows during the course of the year. Much of these travels culminate in varying degrees of disappointment, but now and again, quite the reverse occurs. For the first time, in 2014, I visited Wimbledon College of Arts, and was blown away by the work of Jess (Jessica Pigott). Tucked on the top floor of one of the college buildings, I saw large paintings, very large paintings, with more energy, skill with colour and light/dark and sheer boldness than I've seen in a long time. Jess has progressed, and progressed in a unique and wonderful manner.
We've listed below her CV to-date, and what Jess has to say about her own work
2011 – 2014 BA Fine Art: Painting, Wimbledon College of Art
2010 – 2011 Foundation in Art & Design, Wiltshire College
April 2015 - New Talent, Castlegate House Gallery
Aug 2014 - 2015 Clyde & Co Art Awards, London
June 2014 Wimbledon College of Art Degree Show
April – Oct 2014 Capsticks, Wimbledon
June 2012 Open Exhibition, Pound Arts Centre
My work confronts the emotions and individual relationships we have with certain places, reflecting on both urban and rural environments and the pastoral setting in which I grew up. I look to express a sense or spirit of a place and a way of communicating how it feels to be in these places. I consistently revisit themes of alienation and estrangement, but it is the recurrent quality of solitude that pervades much of my work. These depictions are rarely a true record of a particular place, but a combination of memory and experience. I choose subjects that are directly known to us, familiar and quotidian, whilst also ambiguous and open to shifts in mood and sensation. What is familiar and recognisable in these subjects is undermined by the incongruous use of colour and immediate mark-making.
Each painting undergoes a time-consuming process that involves reworking the material over multiple layers. This process of working generates certain outcomes and idiosyncrasies concerning atmosphere, tone and colour, derived from my recollections and feelings towards these evocative places.
Richard is a young artist with a tremendous talent and an equally exciting future.
Originally from Oldham, he studied for a Fine Art degree at Loughborough University, and whilst there was accepted into the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts, an amazing achievement for someone still a student, indeed, he is the youngest to have been admitted in its approximate 150 year history!
If you can have such a things as considered spontaneity, it lives within Richard’s work. With traces of Bomberg and Auerbach, there’s a power that draws you in, bringing more out the longer you take in the work.
Now living in Rochdale following graduation, we’re thrilled to be working with Richard, and bringing his talent to a wide audience.
John Bellany was born in Port Seton, a coastal town in East Lothian, Scotland. Born into a fishing family, both his father and paternal grandfather captained fishing boats.
Regarded as one of the most notable British artists of the 20th century, he was viewed as an outstanding student at Edinburgh College of Art from 1960 to 65, during this time gaining the Andrew Grant Scholarship in 1962, taking him to Paris. He went on to win the Burstain Award to attend the Royal College of Art in London in 1965, where he studied under Carel Weight and Peter de Francia.
In 1968 he became Lecturer in Painting at Brighton College of Art and 1969 – 1973 he was Lecturer in Painting at Winchester College of Art.
He moved to London where he was the visiting Lecturer at the Royal College of Art. It was during this period that he separated from his first wife that his reputation for being a heavy drinker began. From 1978 until 1984, Bellany was Lecturer in Painting at Goldsmith College of Art. He remarried in 1978, but his second wife spent long periods of time in hospital suffering with schizophrenia which contributed to his increased bouts of heavy drinking, a “curse” that was to persist throughout his life.
In 1986 Bellany was given the first solo show ever at the National Portrait Gallery, and a solo show at the National Portrait Gallery, Scotland in 1986. In 1988 he survived a pioneering liver transplant. His surgeon Sir Roy Calne said he was the only patient he had known that had gone back to work the day after surgery.
John Bellany died in 2013, he was found in his studio clutching his paintbrush.
Works by John can be found in The Tate, the National Portrait Gallery, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, National Galleries of Scotland, to name but a small few.
Among Bellany’s honours are a Major Arts Council Award (1981), Athena International Art Award (1985), Royal Academy’s Wollaston Award (1987).
He was made a Royal Academician in 1991 and awarded the CBE.
William G Bell 1928 - 2006
William G Bell was born in Barrow-in-Furness on April 20th 1928. Following the death of his mother when he was just ten, he was raised by his grandmother. Due to financial constraints, Bill left school at 14 and went to work at the then Vickers Shipyard in Barrow.
Always interested in drawing, Bill began experimenting with painting in his late teens, soon gaining an interest not in the nearby Lake District, but in the immediate world around him, be it working or leisure.
As a capstan operator and machine shop foreman, Bill had hands on experience of the industrial process. The variety of skills and the environment in which they were employed proved an endless source of inspiration. He was
fascinated by industry, having a lifelong interest in mining, shipbuilding, transport and heavy industries.
When away from Barrow, be it day trips or family holidays, Bill always sought out subjects to sketch for possible future paintings on his return home.
On a holiday to Glasgow for example, he journeyed to the Gorbals, to capture the unique architecture and atmosphere of the place. As with many of the
paintings in the exhibition, the painting of the Gorbals will be exhibited with the preparatory sketches completed on such a trip.
When back home in Barrow, Bill continued to be inspired by what he encountered every day; the shipyards, the pigeon pens, the back streets of Askam. All were a constant source of inspiration.
The shop floor at Vickers proved to be a somewhat fertile ground for young artists. Not only was Bill painting, whenever he could, what he saw about him, he was also working with a young apprentice, Keith Tyson, who was to later become a Turner Prize winner.
Bill had other interests. He was a talented engineer, an enthusiastic owner of three classic cars and an avid bibliophile. Painting was, however, his first love and abiding passion throughout his whole adult life.
Bill mostly worked in oils, occasionally in watercolour, pastel and charcoal. He was a founder member and President of the Barrow Society of Artists, a member of the Lakes Artists Society and was widely exhibited, from the 1950s until his death in 2006, including the Royal Academy London, the Royal Scottish Academy, Abbot Hall, the Harris Museum, Preston and the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts. One of Bill’s paintings, Bath Time, chosen by L S Lowry, was even filmed for a BBC television programme in 1958.
Bill’s paintings are instantly recognisable. His subject matter displays little of the romanticism of many of those painting Cumbria, both then and now. At times, purposefully naive, always honest. Bill has left a legacy; a record of how life was in Cumbria and beyond from the 1950s onwards.