Our VIP Evening showcased a very fine collection of original paintings by Helen Bradley, Jack Vettriano, Leon Morrocco, Charlie Shiels and Geoffrey Key.
In recent years there has been a strong focus on the work of Northern, so called 'naive' artists such as Helen Bradley, which comes as no surprise as the desirability of Bradley's work lies in their direct, instantly recognisable imagery, depicting an interesting period of our history. In short, they are compelling pieces of illustrated social commentary. This focus has resulted in record breaking prices paid for her works and a market that has, over the years, become buoyant and well established. Amongst the selection of oil paintings and watercolours of Helen's work we learnt how, in 1908, 'black' was just becoming fashionable for evening wear, having always been reserved for funerals and mourning, how big and hard to operate the very first washing machines were in 1909, and how in 1906 poor Willie Murgatroyd had cut his thumb and had to be taken to Dr McVean's surgery for it to be bandaged.
To listen to some of Helen's stories about herself, her younger brother George, the dogs Barney and Gyp, her mother, three maiden aunts, Miss Carter, who always wore pink, and the bank manager Mr Taylor ( the object of Miss Carter's affections) click this video link.
Although the work of Jack Vettriano has been generally rejected by the art establishment his work is always hugely popular with the public and collectors alike with over 48,000 visitors attendingo his 'Days of Wine and Roses' exhibition during its five day run at the Kirkcaldy Museum in Fife, Scotland in 2010 and his original work regularly fetching six figure sums. Amongst the collection of Vettriano paintings at our Evening Show was 'Pendine Beach' , one of a series of seven paintings commissioned by Sir Terence Conran in 1996 which were inspired by the life of Sir Malcolm Campbell and his consecutive land speed records, achieved in his famous Bluebird cars during the 1920's and 1930's. The collection, which included 'Bluebird at Bonneville' is considered to be his most iconic work to date.
We had a lot of interest shown in the work of Leon Morrocco and Charlie Shiels, two artists of great acclaim, whose work we have not previously exhibited alongside selected early and large works by Geoffrey Key.