We were reminded of the work of Cumbrian artist, Percy Kelly when he was featured on BBC’s Countryfile last weekend.
His illustrated letters (and their envelopes) are especially exquisite – some of which we’ve included in our montage above. Apparently, he carried on decades-long correspondence with over a dozen different people; Joan David, Norman Nicholson and Mary Burkett. When the latter’s estate came up for sale in 2015, the auctioneers reported:
One of the main highlights of the sale was a unique collection of letters illustrated by the artist Percy Kelly (1918-1993) and sent to Mary, his friend and mentor, over a period of 25 years from 1968 until his death in 1993. The correspondence sold for a total of £84,680 to a variety of mainly local bidders with the highest value letters one featuring an illustration of a painter and decorator’s workshop sold for £2,500 and another ‘Maryport from the Settlement’ sold for £2,200.
As Percy Kelly had predicted:
One day my letters will be seen as the most unique ever written.
From what we’ve read up about him, he lived a very colourful, artistically prolific and tragic life. There are articles in the Spectator, Independent and the Guardian that go into further details about his personal history, if you’re interested in finding out more.
Additional image credits: