The Man Who Couldn’t Stop Drawing: The Extraordinary Life of Percy Kelly

ISBN: 9781908486035
Artist(s): Percy Kelly
Author(s): Chris Wadsworth
Format: hardback
Edition: First Edition
Year published: 2011
Publisher: The Studio Fine Art Publications
Publisher Location: London
Total Pages: 182
Illustrations: Profusely illustrated throughout


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The recent retrospective of Percy Kelly’s work was opened by Melvyn Bragg and attracted 12,500 visitors. This story of his extraordinary life sold out during the show and has now been revised and reprinted. Kelly was born 1918 to a large, poor family on the industrial coast of Cumberland. He could draw as soon as he could hold a pencil. His genius was noticed at every stage of his life. He was a compulsive drawer. He talked art with Churchill, met the king, dined with royalty yet died in rural Norfolk alone and pitifully poor as Roberta Penelope He was sought after by many leading galleries but he refused them. He was retentive about his work. He died intestate and unknown in 1993 in a derelict cottage stuffed with his work.The book tells his life’s journey in story form – his flight to Wales and then Norfolk – the people who tried to help him – his transvestism and what happened after his death. The author saved his large body of work from the bonfire, catalogued it and every exhibition since has been a sell-out. The works in the retrospective were borrowed from people who bought in these earlier exhibitions. The book is illustrated with his irresistible and strangely emotional paintings and drawings referred to by art critic Andrew Lambirth as Earthbound Magic.

Condition: covers a little an scuffed and lightly edge-worn.  Signed by the author to half-title page.



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