Top tier Sheila Fell (RA), Percy Kelly and more besides

31st January, 2024

A sublime Sheila Fell

As always, we never stand (or sit) still for very long; more acquisitions have made their way to the gallery, (see Latest Work) and they include one of the finest Sheila Fell paintings from arguably her strongest period, along with a wonderful large painting by the late Percy Kelly; firstly, the Fell.

We acquired Cornfield, Evening from a private collection in Holland Park, London. Painted in 1964, it formed part of Sheila’s final exhibition with Beaux Arts, London in Nov' to Dec' of that year. It has a strength of colour, composition and impasto application of paint that, in our experience, has very seldom been equalled by her, and perhaps not bettered. Sheila was an artist that that developed over her relatively short career. It’s relatively easy to identify the era of her work, her style changed from the mid-1950s to the late 1970s, whence she sadly died. These things are always personal, but we feel that the period from around 1963 to 1968 witnessed her most inventive and expressive works. Cornfield, Evening, is amongst the strongest from this period, showing clear influence of Van Gogh and Turner. Just sublime.

Percy Kelly - Moresby Church and Lowca

Moresby church and Lowca by the late Percy Kelly is a wonderfully commanding West Cumbrian vista of a watercolour painting. Exhibited (and sold) in the second Messums, London Percy Kelly exhibition in 2012, in conjunction with Castlegate House, we’ve just reacquired it from its Hampshire home, ready for its next custodian. It has it all, the Fells, the church, the typically Kelly Cumbrian houses and even the large oversized circular shapes used to represent a rocky/stony area of landscape. Wonderful. 

Anthony Whishaw (RA) - works from the studio

Also new to the gallery are several works from Anthony Whishaw (RA). All date from the late 1950s to the late 1960s. Spending time with Anthony, now ninety-three years old, in his studio is a true pleasure. He’s been in the same Kensington studio since acquiring it in 1957 with his young wife and sculptor, Jean Gibson. Anthony works away each day still, paintbrush in hand, in the same space that he’s done now for sixty-seven years. Spaniard iii, for example, was painted in 1958 whilst travelling in Spain with wife Jean. One of a small series of such portraits, this was propped up, an unframed board, leaning floor to wall in a corner of the studio, untouched and unseen since the day it was painted and brought back to possibly even that exact spot in the studio. Just wonderful.

Craig Simpson

Finally, one of the other new works includes this fabulous self portrait by the very talented Craig Simpson; The Potato Peeler is everything we love about Craig’s work; that contemporary take on mid-century portraiture; influences of Stanley Spencer; a very talented young artist.

All for now, Steve and Christine

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