New acquisitions

12th August, 2023

Percy Kelly

We’ve had a busy last couple of weeks, up and down the UK, acquiring new works for the gallery by Percy Kelly, John Bellany RA, John McNairn and Carel Weight RA, to name but a few.

Firstly, two medium-large paintings by Cumbria’s own Percy Kelly. Both from the same private collection and originally acquired from Castlegate 15-20 years ago or so. The first depicts Orton village, with its distinctive church, whilst the second is a harbour scene. It’s rare to be able to find paintings of this size by Percy, and we were thrilled to be able to conclude matters this week. Both are available and currently away being reframed to current standards.

John Bellany RA

The second acquisition is a very rare early painting by the late John Bellany RA. One of just a handful of paintings depicting the very striking Royal College of Art and St. Martins model, Antionette; by all accounts, once encountered, never forgotten. It’s a powerful work from arguably John’s best period, the mid-late 60s through to the early-mid 70s. The painting also bears the dedication to fellow artist, mentor and friend William Crosier, with the work remaining with William’s widow until relatively recently. A fine thing, for sure.

John McNairn

Another very recent gallery-acquisition, now available to view after a little TLC, is this lovely 1936 painting of Crailing House, Scotland, by John McNairn.

Crailing House is located in the Teviot Valley in the Scottish Borders, and was painted by John on his return to Scotland following several years in France and Spain. John found influence in France from several artists, with I think clear keys in this painting, through palette, composition and the treatment of the house and trees, to Cezanne. Interestingly, in much more recent years, the house was the home of Rory Bremner and family.

Remaining with John’s son until our acquisition last week, now available for the next stage in its history.

Lord Lambton and family, by Carel Weight RA

Finally, we’re genuinely very excited to have secured perhaps the most striking large painting by the influential artist Carel Weight RA; the portrait of Lord Anthony Lambton and his five daughters, circa 1965. A most intriguing composition, as is often the case with such works by Carel; the father, stood in the background, watching his five daughters within one of the undoubted myriad drawing rooms withing the family home. Lord Lambton, who was to relinquish his peerage to enable him to sit in the House of Commons, was MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed from 1951 to 1973, resigning from government and as an MP following a “sex and drugs scandal”. As they say, you never know what goes on behind closed doors. The positioning of the father, to the back of the room, and the five daughters failing to interact with each other, makes for a most intriguing and slightly unsettling grouping, and we absolutely love it.

All for now, many miles to travel next week, more of that later.

Steve and Christine

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