Friday, 7 December 2018

The DP Shop...

The previous blog was about setting up our on-line shop selling only original artwork by Dave Pearson.

We've been able to do this fairly easily because of our cataloguing of Dave's work being done with software that has recently been fully connected with the internet, and hence enabled web trading. 

So three weeks ago we put our shop on-line with 7 galleries of artworks, and an eighth gallery where we could sell our film and catalogues. In total we put up 120 pieces of Dave's artwork for sale. 

Since then we've sold well. With nothing to compare it to I imagined that we might, if things went well, sell perhaps one item a week. In fact we've sold more than three times that. Our very recent sales include the following pieces:

The experience has been an exciting one. It's been great to discover that on-line selling can be fun, and we've made contact with new buyers and enthusiasts for Dave's work as a result. We've also had to learn fast about packaging and mailing out artwork...

In the New Year we'll update our stock to keep things fresh and lively. To take a close look simply go to

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Our on-line gallery

We've now completed the first-stage of our on-line gallery which makes it much easier to purchase original works by Dave Pearson through the new Dave Pearson Studio website

We've selected 120 pieces of work by Dave which are now available for sale directly. They can be paid for on-line by card or via Paypal. Postage and packing is included in the price, and we guarantee to post out within 7 days. Because the purchase is directly with the studio we've been able to keep the prices down. 

Most of the works are on paper and they can be easily and safely posted. The majority are gouaches and include some of the colourful and dynamic works that Dave created alongside his Byzantium work, and which would have informed his large canvases.

The amazing series of large etchings of English Calendar Customs are also available (example below), along with some of the smaller Byzantium canvases and a series of framed gouaches.

To visit the Dave Pearson Web Gallery and Shop simply go to .

Monday, 12 November 2018

Quantity...and the catalogue

The fact that Dave Pearson worked tirelessly throughout his life and left an exceptionally large number of artworks has often been commented on. It's clearly a notable and impressive achievement, but it has led to a number of problems. Ella Cole has been working for the Trust (now the Studio) since 2013 cataloguing the work, although this process has now just about reached its end.

Each piece of work has had to be given a title, photographed and measured, and a decision made on what type of art work it is - painting, drawing, print, gouache etc etc. This information is then fed into the database, which gives the piece a 'catalogue number'. 

We have used Artlook Software to help us with this process from the beginning, and have been very impressed with it. Especially since it recently upgraded to a fully digital cloud-based application. Now, when we look at our catalogue on a screen, we see something like this:

It's easy to scroll through and call up and look more closely at individual items. It tells us whether a work has been sold or not, its price and year of origin. It's also simple to search for work under a wide range of category headings. So, for example, we can just just select 'etchings' and the screen will show only the etchings within the catalogue.

We're often asked about the quantity of work created by Dave. Ella completed her cataloguing at roughly item number 13,500.  But the catalogue started at number 110 rather than 0, and although the occasional mistake can be easily altered or modified, each change will move the numbering forward by one. So it might be more realistic to say that there are about 13,000 items in the catalogue. 

However Dave's many sketch books, many of which contain between 50 and 100 drawings, have simply been catalogued each as a single item. Similarly some folders of work (mainly sketches or monoprints) have been catalogued in the same way. In addition to this, we have never catalogued most of the the very early work, which is stored under not very good conditions in the cellar. It's mostly in poor condition but must amount in total to several hundred pieces. Finally, I estimate that there are perhaps 2,000 pieces of work at Dave's old house, now with his son Chris. So, taking these things into account there are probably about 15,500 pieces of work, in total, by Dave Pearson.

But - and its a big but, Dave never threw anything away. This has been very helpful in tracking his work through from its inception in sketch form through to the completed pieces. But it also means that there's a considerable amount of work which are best considered as sketches, sometimes scribbles, or as trial pieces, and as test pieces. I think, had Dave lived, he would certainly have rejected some of these and have archived them, and removed them from the catalogue of his work. 

Looking at this issue - and dealing with it - will be one of our major challenges in the forthcoming year or so. It might well mean that the estimated 15.500 pieces of Dave Pearsons catalogued work will finally be reduced to a catalogue raisonne of half that number, or even fewer.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

The Plough Jags of Burringham

From time to time we receive queries about the provenance of a Dave Pearson work that has found its way into someones' possession. 

These are most frequently works not by 'our' Dave Pearson at all. There are one or two other artists out there going by the same name. Fortunately their work is immediately recognisable as being by a different artist. 

But yesterday I received a query about a print, and the sender sent me several photographs of it:

Interestingly it was signed, as an artists proof, by Dave, and dated 1980. It also had a title 'The Plough Jags of Burringham'. This information has been very helpful as we've not had an accurate date until now as to when Dave made the series of prints based on English Calendar Customs. Neither did we know exactly what the subject was. But with a little research I've found that 'The Plough Jags' are a folk group of mummers from the East Midlands, and Dave would probably have found a photograph of them during his researches into calendar customs. 

So we're been able to update our own records, and include this information on the Dave Pearson on-line shop, where freshly printed copies of the etching are currently available:

It's also given us further clues about a series of very large pastel drawings made by Dave Pearson. We knew that these were of English folk groups and customs, but were less certain as to their date. It means that almost certainly they were also done sometime around 1980:

Friday, 12 October 2018

RAT 2018

Last weekend was the annual local open studios event - Rossendale Art Trail, or RAT for short. We took part as ever (it would be hard not to as I'm the coordinator). This year our sister organisation, Apna Rossendale, also offered a very special exhibition. The Slough based artist Shamina Haq, who not only exhibited a number of her geometric pieces but was present throughout, giving demonstrations and discussing her work with visitors. 

The event naturally brought a larger proportion of visitors from the South Asian heritage communities, and most extended their visit and came upstairs to see the selection of smaller Byzantium-series panels by Dave Pearson. We had well over 100 visitors who came to see us during the weekend, and we also sold four pieces - a gouache, two prints and a ink and watercolour drawing. 

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Our new on-line gallery and shop

Over the past month or so Ella and I have been working on designing and setting up an on-line gallery and shop where Dave's work can be browsed through and items can be purchased directly. We've been able to do this through our links with Artlook Software, who designed the software for the catalogue that we've been using these past 8 years. Yesterday the site finally went live! 

Please visit us! We would be grateful to receive your feedback. 

We've started out with just a fairly small selection of works on paper, prints and small gouaches and oil paintings. Things we know that we'll be able to mail out safely and at reasonable cost. 

We hope to expand the work available on-line through time, as we get used to how on-line shopping works. 

Many thanks!

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Art Trail 2018

We're currently preparing the studio on Manchester Road for a new exhibition - 'Fragments' - which will open for the 2018 Rossendale Art Trail during the first weekend in October (6/7th)...also open Friday 5th from 10.30am - 3pm. 

The exhibition will show a selection of the small oil paintings that Dave Pearson created to hang adjacent to the main multi-panel paintings of his Byzantium series. 

Thursday, 6 September 2018

An on-line shop

I've been working with Ella Cole to create a new on-line shop for purchasing Dave Pearson's work. It's an opportunity that has grown from upgrading the Artlook software that Ella has been using these past few years to catalogue Dave Pearson's work.

At the end of last year Artlook undertook a major overhaul of their software which enabled the catalogue to benefit from cloud technology for storage and our Macs to easily engage with a catalogue which previously been limited to PCs. 

One of the best things about these changes is that the new software comes with a website which can be fairly easily made into a shop for selling work. We hope that this will go live in a few weeks time, and at the moment we're creating some groupings of Dave's work for the experiment. Initially we will be offering some of his colourful Byzantium gouaches, a selection of etchings based on British Calendar Customs, smaller Byzantium-themed oil paintings, and other works on paper.   

Tuesday, 31 July 2018


There's a week left of the 'Return to Byzantium' exhibition at the Turnpike, and I've revisited several times this last month. There's also been some great feedback, and a couple of reviews including one online from Corridor8:

"Like Yeats’ poem, Pearson’s work has a mystical quality about it. Images emerge, fall back, and re-emerge with new detail as your eyes dart across the paintings and attempt to decipher their message. You fall into a lucid dream-like state where the bizarre characters within the works develop narratives of their own: ‘Hi Pink Antler Guy, where are you asking to take me?’"

I continue to be very impressed by what the Turnpike offer. Every time I've visited there's been activity in the gallery space. Usually sessions for children and families, responding to the paintings through dance, writing, or drawing. Several friends have come over too, including an old friend who travelled from Amsterdam, in large part to see the show. There's no doubt that the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I'm now feeling sad that these great paintings are soon to return to 54 Manchester Road and be placed back in stacked up piles. Waiting how long before they're taken out to be seen again?

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Self-portraits: a showcase

We're holding a Special Open Day this Sunday, 1st July from 11am until 7pm. We've remounted the gallery areas in the old studio at 54 Manchester Road in Haslingden, BB4 5TE, and we're showing a selection of over 40 of Dave Pearson's self-portraits. 

You are invited to join us for this informal showing of some of Dave's least exhibited works - an intimate collection of paintings that reflect a wide range of moods and styles. Light refreshments will be available - access is up stairs, and sadly with no wheelchair provision.

This collection is in complete contrast to the exhibition currently showing at the Turnpike in Leigh, which is exhibiting a number of the huge Byzantium paintings from the 1990s. Many of the portraits will be contemporary with the Turnpike paintings, yet show a totally different side of the artist's vision. 

Also showing will be a small collection in the Apna space at 54 Manchester Road. These are fabrics created by local South Asian heritage women, and until recently they were on show at Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery. 

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Opening at The Turnpike

The Opening of the Turnpike's Dave Pearson: Return to Byzantium exhibition was very special, with a notable contribution from Cacophony Arkestra, who looked as if they had stepped directly out of one of Dave's paintings, and sounded brilliant.

The gallery looked stunning and, as ever with these huge Byzantium pieces, its a great relief to see them looking as powerful as remembered. We live with them at Dave's old studio, of course, but we hardly ever get to see them properly. On the whole they look as fresh as the day they were painted, although Ella Cole had to undertake a little cleaning, and I had the job of touching up a few dramatic scratches which, I'm pleased to say, have now completely disappeared. 

There was a good turn out for the evening, and Helen Stalker and the team at The Turnpike gallery did an amazing job - over several days. In addition to the opening of Dave Pearson's work there was a specially commissioned dance and poetry piece by Pen Chant, shown the following evening as part of the 'Newfangled' Cabaret. There was also community lunch on the Saturday, and in the adjoining gallery there's a showing of prints created by four local schools.

These were from workshops led by Rossendale artist Alan Birch, in which he used Dave's 'Calendar Custom' prints as inspiration (above). 

The show is at the gallery until Saturday 4th August. Opening hours are Tuesday – Friday 10am – 4pm; Saturdays 10am - 2pm. The gallery is above Leigh Library, Civic Square, WN7 1EB.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

The Turnpike, Leigh

The exhibition is going up in readiness for its opening this Thursday evening. Helen Stalker, Matt Retallick and the team at the Turnpike have been as helpful as anyone could have hoped, and already its looking fantastic. 

There's not been much for Ella, Alastair, or myself to do as they have an experienced team hanging the paintings. Other than driving over and unloading yesterday, and then laying out the work as we wanted it, everything else has been done by the gallery. Today, having noted some bad scratches in one or two places, I came back with Dave's restorers kit, and Ella brought her distilled water and baby wipes to clean the few dirty patches. 

The gallery itself is now looking classy, and their refurb has worked really well. In addition Helen has arranged a whole raft of activities that have been inspired by the exhibition. Our friend, the artist Alan Birch has been working with local schools including Moorside Primary School and Bedford High, to create prints inspired by Dave's 'Calendar Customs'. 

The artists from Pen Chant are showing their dance-and-poetry work inspired by Dave Pearson 'Newfangled!' on Friday evening at 7.30pm, and on Saturday 23rd there's a new idea being tried - a community lunch between 12midday and 2pm. There have been a number of community workshops too, including work with Roma children. 

Hearing and seeing all of this going on alongside a show which returns to the material Dave created for the 1994 exhibition has been very inspiring. Although the lighting still has to be put on the canvases, the smaller works still have to be hung, and a final tidy before the gallery opens for Thursday, its already clear that this is going to be a very special event and one that the Studio is proud of being part of.

Monday, 11 June 2018

New exhibition at the Dave Pearson Studio

Running parallel with preparations for the large-scale show at the Turnpike Gallery in Leigh, which opens on Thursday 21st June, we're busy mounting a much smaller scale show at Dave Pearson's studio in Haslingden. The contrast between some his biggest and most ambitious works and the small and intimate self-portraits on show in Haslingden will demonstrate Dave's unusually wide range as an artist.

We're letting the dust settle on the Turnpike show then having a whole day opening at the studio on Sunday 1st July, from 11am until 7pm. So put the date in your diary and drop in at any time for a drink, nibbles, and a close look at over 40 self-portraits which have never before been shown outside of London. 

We've also been busy in other ways. In conjunction with Apna, who share the old studio with us, we've installed a new kitchen. Apna have also been awarded a small grant by Marks and Spencer to improve the back yard, and we hope that by the opening we'll have plants and possibly seating gracing the rear of 54 Manchester Road

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Dave Pearson: Return to Leigh

Actually it should be Dave Pearson: Return to Byzantium, and it's opening shortly at the Turnpike Gallery in Leigh, Wigan. 

It's a return because most of the work in the exhibition was shown in the same gallery in 1994. But this time we've stripped that show down to its essentials. In other words we're simply exhibiting the large central panels, without the smaller pieces that were originally placed around them. So it's a kind of Byzantium Unplugged.  

The Preview is on Thursday 21st June, 6 - 8pm. After that it's open until August 4th

Getting the pieces out from storage and looking at them up close has been fascinating - finding all the little details (above and below) that get overlooked when you're standing back and looking at the large triptychs, most of which are around 4 metres long. 

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Belper, Kunst and beyond

We can report that the newly established Dave Pearson Studio organisation is settling in well, and now has its legs comfortably stretched out under the table. 

The first month has been spent reorganising the office on Manchester Road, partly so things are filed in a way that Dave's son Chris can access them, but just as much so that Apna, who share the building with us, have proper desks and storage for their new staff.

We also have our builders in, improving the kitchen space and fixing a hole in the roof that has been staining the ceiling of the upstairs gallery space. 

In terms of showing Dave Pearson's work there's also a lot happening. This Saturday (19th) there's a showing at 7pm of Derek Smith's wonderful 'Dave Pearson: To Byzantium' film at the Kunst Gallery in Belper. An exhibition of a the amazing late series of 'The Day of The Dead' (below) will then be on show at the gallery until 17th June. This will all be happening at the Kunst Gallery, Campbell Street, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 1AP.

While the Belper exhibition is running, we'll be working on getting things ready for the large-scale 'Return to Byzantium' show at the Turnpike Gallery in Leigh, WN7 1EB, which will open on the 21st June and run from 23rd June until 4th August. More about this in our next blog.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Goodbye to the Trust; welcome the Studio!

The Dave Pearson Trust closed down at the end of last month, to be replaced by The Dave Pearson Studio. As a result Dave's work is now back in the hands of his son Chris. I'll continue to run things, and Ella will carry on archiving and helping support our work. 

So, it's a time of major change for us, and the office here in the studio is being set up to work more effectively for The DP Studio,as well as for Apna (who shares the premises) and for me as landlord (I'll be using it as a base too). We've already put in faster wifi and a more ethical power supply. Our email remains the same though,

In the next few months we'll be hanging a new exhibition of a selection of Dave's self-portraits in our gallery on the top floor. We'll be sending out invites shortly for the opening. We're also getting our builders in to improve the kitchen area, (and sort out the leaking roof). Then we'll be moving some of the larger Byzantium pictures to the Turnpike Gallery in Leigh for a major exhibition opening on the 21st June. 

Monday, 12 March 2018

We now have a regular Monday morning meeting with Chris Pearson, in which together we look at the final details associated with transferring his father's estate from the Trust back to him.

Today we went along to Chris's house. It's just 100 metres down from the studio, which is where the vast majority of Dave's work is stored and where the Trust has its base.

Chris showed us 100 large canvases that are at the house (above); upstairs are perhaps a 1000 or more large works on paper, and some of these can be seen in the photograph below. Ella hopes to be able to record these too, and add them to the Catalogue. 

We took a couple boxes of mixed work back to the studio - pastels, gouaches, drypoints - and emptied them as soon as we got back. Already we're seeing some interesting new work, which has been unseen for many years.

Monday, 5 March 2018

DP Trust becomes DP Studio

The Dave Pearson Trust will no longer exist at the end of this month. For reasons that have been documented in detail in this blog, we're voluntarily handing the assets of the Trust - Dave Pearson's paintings - back to Dave's son Chris, in order to avoid a large tax bill. This is not taxation on our earnings (if only) but on the legally necessary 10 year-on assessment of the value of the estate that was left at Dave's death. In other words the result of all our hard work over the past 9 years has been to increase the value of Dave's paintings - and as a result there's a potentially large increase in the death duty payable on his estate. Any Trust has to be re-assessed and pay this every 10 years - or hand the estate back to the benefactor, which is what we're doing. 

We met today to discuss the details. Opening a new bank account; moving standing orders; agreeing on a new lease for the studio...and so on. The new company, which will be managed by Chris Pearson, will be called The Dave Pearson Studio. It will take the place of the Trust, and start operating at the beginning of April 2018. 

Margaret Mytton and I (Bob Frith) will cease to be Trustees, although I will continue to help Chris. Ella Cole will still help out too. By coincidence Ella has nearly completed cataloguing the work in the studio, and this has reached 13,314 pieces of work. Whether she continues to catalogue the few thousand additional pieces at Chris's home will have to be seen.

To reassure our friends, buyers and collectors, it needs to be said that the studio at 54 Manchester Road, Haslingden BB4 5TE will continue to house Dave's work, and it will be open to visitors as before. In fact we plan to open for special exhibitions rather more frequently than before, so on the surface anyway, things will be much the same.