Another regular Tuesday at Dave's old studio in Haslingden, working alongside Ella as she catalogues Dave's work. Ella has been doing this, we reckon, for one year and four months now, and we've reached number 6,398 in the catalogue of work.
When I first looked at this huge collection of work, immediately after Dave's death, I started counting the collection - it was necessary, among other things, to do this for the Estate probate. I stopped at around 14,000 when it became impossible to reach further into the decaying and unsafe rooms, and at this point I realised that, tucked away, there could be as many as 20,000 pieces of work. This somehow reached the news media (I think through a local news report) and there was an avalanche of superficial comment in the press about the situation, typically labelling Dave as an eccentric artist and suchlike.
Eventually, as the Trust got to grips with the situation and we began to clear up and return the work to the restored studio, I modified my estimate to there being around 15,000 pieces of work, ranging from small sketches to enormous triptychs on canvas painted in oil.
Today I cleared a shelf that had a number of plastic-bound folders on it; folders I assumed would have photo-copied sheets or photographs in them. In fact 11 of them contained drawings - probably an average of 150 per folder. So I had uncovered another 1600 or so drawings. These all need to be catalogued, although we'll probably count each folder as simply one item, and just note the number of individual pieces of work inside.
Then Ella laid out a pile of mixed drawings from the same shelf (photos above) - yet another 400 items. So in just one morning we've uncovered another 2000 pieces of work. My estimate of Dave's output here in the studio is beginning to return to the 20,000 mark!
There were also a number of pieces in yet another file that I'm finding hard to categorise. Are they a record of work done, or are they artwork's in their own right? Most of them are clearly based on local war memorials (such as the one in the park just over the road from Dave's studio), and incorporate poppy motifs. However they need to be catalogued or preserved, they form a stunning record (see below) of another strand of Dave Pearson's work: