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Jack Hellewell exhibition, The King’s Manor, University of York, until June 30
FOR the last 25 years of his life Jack Hellewell painted all day and every day, describing himself as “a fanatical painter”. Ann Petherick, of Kentmere House Gallery, in Scarcroft Hill, York, showed his work throughout that time and has continued to do so since his death 12 years ago.
From this week until June 30, she presents A Sense of Place, Paintings from the Studio of the late Jack Hellewell 1920-2000, in The Common Room at The King’s Manor, University of York, Exhibition Square, York.
Many of these acrylic paintings have never before been seen outside of his studio.
“I always looked forward to visiting that studio,” says Ann. “His attic flat in Ilkley would be neatly stacked with canvasses and portfolios. He would invariably say: ‘I haven’t done much’ and then the portfolios would be opened and the work would start to appear. It was clear that he had done a great deal, and it was astounding in its consistent quality and colour range.”
Born in Bradford and trained at the city’s School of Art, Jack Hellewell is recognised as one of the finest Yorkshire painters of his generation. He exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition on several occasions in the 1990s and his work is in the collections of British Rail, the National Power Company, Rochdale Art Gallery, Manchester City Art Gallery and Provident Financial, Bradford.
“One of the quietest and most modest of men, Jack was delighted when anyone bought his work but hated to be involved in the selling process,” says Ann. “Private views were dreaded and to be avoided at all costs by Jack, and even a photograph was resisted – but occasionally achieved. As a result, there were very few people who were privileged to know him but a great many who enjoy his work every day.”
When Jack died in 2000 the quantity and quality of work that he left amazed even his own family.
“They are gradually cataloguing and photographing the work and making it available for sale through Kentmere House Gallery, which is acting as artistic executor,” says Ann.
A selection of his work is permanently on show at Ann’s gallery and on the website, kentmerehouse.co.uk.
The King’s Manor gallery is open from Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, and on Saturday, April 21 too. Please phone 01904 656507 to check on which other Saturdays visitors will be welcome.