Fred Elwell, Local born Beverley Artist
Fred Elwell was born in 1870 and died in 1958. If you search the Internet for him you will find that information is fairly scarce. However, in my hometown, his is a well known name.
Fred attended evening art classes, before winning a scholarship to the Lincoln School of Art in 1887. He was a successful student and won many awards. Although he experimented with modern influences he opted for the traditional style of painting which was currently popular.
Fred travelled abroad, painting in Antwerp and Paris and had plans to move to London, and make the capital his home. However, this was not to be. Financial constraints and poor health saw him return to Beverley. I have no doubt that if circumstances had been different his name would have been more widely known.
In 1914 Fred married Mary Dawson, a local widow, who was also an established, local artist. With an improved financial position Fred and Mary travelled extensively and Fred became a full member of the Royal Academy in 1938. Ultimately Fred believed that :-
"painting is 90 per cent perspiration and 10 per cent inspiration" and regarded modern art movements as "misguided attempts at being different ".
A traditional artist, many of Fred's paintings are disliked by modern artists and dismissed as chocolate box, sentimental and chintzy. There is no denying though that Fred was an exceptional artist and his work is charming and well as professional.
One of his most famous paintings locally is "The first born" which is part of Ferens Art Gallery's vast collection. The painting shows a young husband sitting on the bed, whilst his wife holds their newly born first child. It is sweet and very much of the time.
There are works of art by Fred Elwell on display at galleries around the country which include Beverley and Bristol.
Fred Elwell latest
Beverley, East Yorkshire is quite rightly proud of Fred Elwell and his local links. For 2009 there are plans to bring this local artist to the public eye in a slightly unusual way. A Fred Elwell trail is being organised. It will mean that some of Fred's paintings will be hung in prominent positions around Beverley. These places will also be significant to each piece of work.
Most of Fred's paintings incorporated areas and settings in and around Beverley, so this trail should be very interesting. Seeing paintings in 21st Century surroundings could also be a little strange. However Beverley still has a quaintness and retains much of its old world charm, despite having modern shops and the like.
The Treasure House Art Gallery in Beverley will have a supporting exhibition with plenty of information regarding Fred Elwell and his work. A test trail painting was hung for a month in April and proved successful.
The trail should be up and running by July 2009 and anyone visiting Beverley or the surrounding area may find it interesting check out Fred Elwell's work.
The Ferens Art Gallery, Hull
The Ferens is located in Victoria Square in the centre of Kingston-Upon-Hull and is free to visit. It is owned, run and maintained by the local council.The gallery has permanent collections on display which include works of art by Canaletto and Frans Hals as well as modern works and temporary displays.
The gallery's gift shop sells greetings cards and posters of The First Born and more.
Beverley is around 7 miles outside of Kingston-Upon-Hull in East Yorkshire, England. It is a small market town which is very pretty. Within a short distance there are the yorkshire wolds, York, Harrogate and the coast.
Beverley has a through train station with links around the country and a good bus service. As a base for exploring East Yorkshire it would be a perfect.
Beverley though small has a racecourse with a good programme of events. There is a large market held every Saturday and a smaller Wednesday market. The Westwood, a short walk from the centre of Beverley, is a great place to picnic or just stretch your legs. Beverley has a good selection of shops, restaurants and cafes. Good antiquarian book stores and antique shops are dotted around. Beverely has a Minster and the historic St Marys Church which are also worth a visit.
Fred Elwell's Hometown, Beverley
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