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by Percy Kelly

Percy Kelly display in April & May
Derwent Pencil Museum to reveal hidden secrets of Cumbrian Artist with new Display

April 2019 – Generations of artists have been inspired by the Cumbrian landscape, none more so than Workington-native Percy Kelly whose work focused on the villages and industrial landscape of West Cumbria in which he lived. After a recent and successful Percy Kelly retrospective at Tullie House, Chris Wadsworth curator of the exhibition wrote a children's interactive book, ‘Have a Humbug’ about the artist's childhood in Workington.

When Derwent Pencil Museum in Keswick saw the book, they added a pack of colouring pencils to every copy and have now set aside the whole month of May to focus on Percy Kelly and his letters and how they can inspire everyone to get involved in art. The small curated display will feature exact facsimiles of his beautiful letters and decorated envelopes as the originals are privately owned and not available to display. Derwent have also selected one of Kelly's etching plates to be printed in a special edition of 75 to celebrate the event. ‘White Barn’, Cumberland which has never been seen before will be for sale in the Derwent Pencil Museum.

There will be talks, video and demonstrations during the month with opportunities during your visit to use some of the exciting Derwent products and create your own work of art. Renowned for his colourful but deeply complex work, Kelly’s creativity often mirrored his own personality and internal turmoil. Never working for monetary gain, Kelly was courted by the most prestigious galleries but preferred to create for his own personal progression and mental-stimulation. On his death, Kelly’s cottage was discovered to be stuffed full of his lifetime’s work. Chris Wadsworth, with the support of Kelly’s lifelong friend Joan David, rescued these pieces to give Kelly the reputation and public knowledge he truly deserved. Nicola Shepherd, Marketing Director at Derwent, said: “When I first became aware of Percy Kelly’s story, I knew it was one that had to be heard. “It’s an honour to be able to display some of Kelly’s private letters here at the Museum and I hope that the public will visit us to find out more about Percy Kelly, his life and enjoy having a go at creating their own artwork in his style.”

As part of the display, Chris, will be hosting two talks about Kelly’s life, his inspirations and the legacy he left behind with his art. The first of these ‘Every Picture tells a story - the Illustrated Letters of Percy Kelly’, is on 8th May, 6.30pm until 8.30pm with an hour’s talk and an hour of art demonstrations. The second, ‘Have a Humbug’, will be more targeted at families and will take place on Sunday 19th May from 2pm until 4pm with a mix of talks and art activities to get involved with.

Tickets can be purchased from the Museum in person or over the telephone, 01768 773 626 and cost £5.00 for Museum Members and £7.50 for Non-members.

The Display opens on 27th April and Derwent are offering Free Admission from 1pm until 5pm on that day only where you can head down, enjoy a humbug and try your hand with some fabulous Derwent art materials!

To find out more about the display, visit or call the Derwent Pencil Museum on 01768 773 626.

About Percy Kelly
Please reference for further information on the artist and to view more of his work

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