Saturday, 26 December 2009

A Christmas lull

Despite the belief that some small jobs would continue, things have pretty much ground to a halt as I've spent the past week snowbound. Even walking down the road to the pub has become a mini-epic. Still, I did make a concerted effort on Wednesday to venture out and gather Christmas goodies.

After digging the car out a snow-drift, I called in at the studio to distribute various paintings that were being collected by their purchasers after the opening weekend. The walls of 54 are now almost empty, a sign of how much of Dave's work was sold over the weekend. I've been able to bank most of the money from those sales and it cannot be stressed enough just what a relief it is to have built up the Trust's financial reserves again just as things were looking like we would hit problems in 2010.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

iPM honours!

Sunday went well too - selling another 8 pieces. So the Trust now certainly has some financial security for the immediate future.

Quite unexpectedly the work on Dave's studio has been brought to the attention of the iPM New Years Honours people. Today I had the privilege of showing Nigel Wrench around 54 and talking to him about Dave's life and work and the story behind the restoration of the building. He was very enthusiastic about the project - and the work - and apparently this will be edited and broadcast on Radio 4 some time soon.

Over the holiday period I'll do a little more work, ferrying things from the store, but on the whole things will slow down after the last frantic few weeks. Margaret is now on holiday from her teaching work and can continue to work on the monograph.

As we approach the end of 2009 I think we can be very pleased with all that has been achieved.

Saturday, 12 December 2009


I opened the studio up from 12.30 until 5.00 pm today. Busy right from the doors opening until about 3.00 pm, after which there were only a couple of visitors. It seemed odd just sitting still after weeks of frantic activity; but also provided some time to contemplate the paintings which, perhaps oddly, there is never time to do when they're being moved around from store to studio.

We sold another eight pieces and I had time to consider the financial situation after the opening last night. It means, at the very least, that the pressure to immediately move from the storage unit has been relieved, and that the Trust can begin to pay the monthly rent and bills for the refurbished studio.

The next step must be to put aside some of the key pieces of Dave's work so that they remain with the Estate. Paintings and other works are being sold at a low price at the moment, and I want to make certain that the Trust retains a selection of the best work for a time when, I hope, the prices more truly reflect the quality of the work.

Opening Night

The studio on 54 Manchester Road finally opened last night!

At 6.20 pm we began to think that it might be the 6 of us - Kay, Sean, Margaret, Jackie, Julian and myself, oh and the drunk who lurched in off the street and eyed up our supply of hospitality wine, who spent yet another evening together. Nerves.

But no - by 7.30 there was a good crowd, and by 8 it was getting difficult to move around the house. I was busy most of the evening sorting out sales, which far exceeded my expectations. Everyone was totally enthused by the transformed building - what a good gallery it was; what an interesting and rather grand house! And Dave's work - the usual astonishment and the consistently high quality, the variety, and the sheer energy of it all.

Some of the rooms were hung as in a 'proper' art gallery, with numbered and priced pieces; other rooms were laid out informally - beginning to suggest their eventual function as store rooms once the rest of the work gets brought back out of storage. The photographs above show the entrance hall, and one of the 'casual' back rooms.

Thank you to everybody who made the effort to come last night - what a great and warm crowd, and particularly great to see Florence, Dave's daughter. Finally a big thank you to everyone who helped me and Kay get the building together. Certainly couldn't have done it without you!