The Percy Kelly Trail (Allonby)


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The Allonby trail starts at the church takes you through the village which was home to Kelly and his wife Audrey from 1958 to 1970. 

After servicing in Royal Signals Regiment for six years Kelly applied to be a teacher but was told to return to his work with the Royal Mail post office in Workington. This was a demanding job and gave little time for Kelly to paint so Kelly and Audrey applied to manage the small post office in Broughton in 1952. Apparently Kelly would get cross with customers of the post office as they would interrupt his painting. 

In 1958 after some serious depression Kelly and Audrey left the postal services and moved to Allondby were Kelly got to focus on his art more seriously. Although Kelly would occasionally make some money by painting pub, garage signs and coffin plates it was Audrey who made the most money working at Dovenby Hospital.

In the 12 years that Kelly lived in Allonby he met some influential people and decided to go to art College to study design and print making were he got a distinction. He was persuaded to exhibit his work in different places but after some successful exhibitions he decided not to do it anymore.

In 1970 his wife caught him dressing up in woman's cloths and divorced him. Kelly fell in love with a woman called Chris Griffith and together they moved to Kendal, then Wales and then to Norfolk where Kelly died in 1993

Allonby Parish Church today

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Allonby parish Church in Kelly's day.

Kelly seemed to like painting and sketching churches this may have been because he was religious but also may have been because they reminded him of his past or perhaps just because he liked their shape. This picture of Kelly's uses simple colours and bold lines which was typical of his style. 

When Kelly did use colour he tended to use a more abstract approach, painting in bold colours that made the images stand out. The painting below shows this, the bridge is made of Eden sandstone which has a red tint but Kelly has overcompensated the red to make it stand out.

A classic example of Kelly's use of bold 
lines and colour

The actual colour of the bridge

Kelly clearly liked this bridge as he painted it many times.
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Image result for percy kelly allonby

Apparently Kelly painted the door to his house (Glen Cottage), pink which annoyed his wife. He set up his printing equipment in the scullery. 
Glen Cottage with its pink door.

Glen Cottage today 

Kelly's home was decorated with only his own art. Kelly didn't like selling his art and kept most of it unil his death in Norfolk in 1993.

Whilst Kelly lived in Allonby he wrote many letters to his friend Joan David. Kelly always included a picture in his letters. 

A letter to Joan David