ALL this week the Arnup family are holding the final exhibition and sale of the work of the late Sally and Mick Arnup at The Studios, in Holtby, near York.

Mick died in 2008, Sally in December 2015, after devoting most of her artistic life to working with animals. Now the studios are in their final throes for York's premier artistic family.

"We can't keep everything; it's physically impossible," says daughter Hannah Arnup, herself a ceramicist, who is over from Ballymorris, County Clare, in Southern Ireland, to oversee the finale with brother Ben. "It's been such an emotional rollercoaster because every decision we make is important and personal, and whatever happens it's not going to be the same at Holtby. It's draining but you also have to recognise that every decision is a step forward.

"This is a milestone moment, the changing of an era, as we're not anticipating that we're going to make any more [editions] here, so in that sense it's finite. We're not re-casting pieces where the editions have sold out, and what do you do with all the moulds? There are a lot of decisions to be made."

On show each day from 10am to 6pm are sculpture, painting, pottery and a rare glimpse of work-in-progress, as well as examples of early drawings, maquettes and some previously unseen sketches by Sally dating back to college days.

York Press:

Sally and Mick Arnup pictured in 1971

"This is the last chance to see the studios, and bit by bit some works will go to auction and they will never be seen as a collection again," says Hannah. "It's not set up as a working studio any more but some of the tools are still there; we've sold some some of the equipment already, but there's more for sale and the biggest thing we have to sell is Mick's brick-built kiln."

Mick and Sally had moved to Holtby in 1960 after they qualified at the Royal College of Art in London. Mick secured a post at York Art School, where he later became vice principal, and they both taught there until 1971, Sally running the sculpture department part-time.

They built up the studios and pottery over many years, Mick building the aforementioned oil-fired kiln, which was so large it often took six months to fill with his decorated stoneware pottery. The doorway would then be bricked up, and Hannah can recall one occasion when her father burnt off his eyebrows as "the lick of heat hit him" in his enthusiasm to look into the still-hot kiln after the bricks were removed post-firing.

"For us, there is the gratification that this week we're selling work to people face to face, which makes it more personal too," says Hannah. "Sally was always very personal with her clients, so a lot of them became good friends and it's important to respect that too."

Meanwhile, as one era ends at Holtby, so the artistry of Sally Arnup will live on York Art Gallery, after the Arnup family donated a posthumous gift of her life-size bronze of an Irish wolfhound.