‘A life in colour’
Work from the studio of Jack Hellewell, 1920-2000
Kentmere House Gallery had always intended to devote much of this year’s exhibition programme to Jack Hellewell, as this would have been his centenary year. Ever since gallery owner Ann Petherick saw his work in a gallery in Ilkley twenty-five years ago he has been one of the gallery’s most loved & respected artists.
Jack lived for his painting, describing himself as “a fanatical painter” & spending all day & everyday painting, especially after his wife died. 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 &, as a result, most of the work in this exhibition will never have been seen before outside his studio.
His attic flat overlooking Ilkley Moor was always neatly stacked with canvasses & work on paper. Initially he would say “I haven’t done much” and then the paintings would start to appear—astounding in their quality & consistency, and always singing with colour.
The gentlest, quietest & 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, such as in ‘Retired to the seaside’.
Following his death in 2000 Kentmere House Gallery was appointed to manage Jack’s artistic estate & exhibitions have been held in Ilkley, Leeds, Stoke on Trent, Bristol, London & Vienna. There were planned to be several more in 2020, although some may now have to be deferred to 2021..
All this leads me to wonder how many other such artists there are: producing superbly rich & inspired work, yet largely unknown to the public & even more so to the art world, & never receiving a penny of public funding, nor any public recognition.
Kentmere House Gallery
53 Scarcroft Hill, York, YO24 1DF
01904 656507 07801 810825