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.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Hanging the Leicester show

Wednesday and Thursday was spent at Leicester Grammar School hanging paintings and drawings for the 'Trees of Byzantium' exhibition that opens on Friday 26th January (although the students will see the work when their term starts on the 8th). 

Alastair Price, Sean Frith and myself drove down with a van loaded with the four large pieces (although these are made up of 11 separate canvases) and 16 smaller framed pieces. This was in the teeth of Storm Eleanor and was an adventure in itself. When we arrived we were joined by Ella Cole

The school is in a large modern building, and the exhibition is on a first floor passage that runs the whole length of the building, known as The Street. It's an unusual exhibition space, not ideal in some ways, but it does have the virtue of being seen by everyone passing through, as its the main artery of the school building.

By Thursday afternoon we had completed the hanging. It looked good - despite the fact that it's in a corridor, it's a very wide one and has deep bays in which its possible to stand back and look at the work from 4 or 5 yards away, which is necessary to get a good look at the large pieces. It's also possible to see the work from below, in the dining area:

Monday, 18 December 2017

Getting ready for Leicester

We're busy preparing paintings, information boards, labels, tools and suchlike for the exhibition of Dave's work at Leicester Grammar School in January.

We've had 9 pieces newly framed for the show - as well as 8 already-framed works that will complete the collection of gouaches and drawings in the exhibition. The centrepieces will be three large-scale paintings - a diptych, a triptych, and a 5 panel piece, 7 metres in length, all over 2 metres in height. The overall theme for the exhibition will be the use of tree images, mythology and folklore within his vast 'Byzantium' period. 

The show opens on the 12th January and runs until April 1st 2018. 

Monday, 20 November 2017


Two key aspects of our work are now coming to their conclusion. By coincidence the process of cataloguing all of the artwork held at Dave Pearson's studio is coming to its end just as the Dave Pearson Trust itself is being wound up and made into a new organisation. 

Ella Cole has moved down to the ground floor of the studio and is now cataloguing the large paintings, currently working on item number 13260. After this, final, room has been completed, Ella will move onto the work that is stored in Chris Pearson's house, just down the road from here. It's hard to be certain but that possibly houses another 2,000 or so drawings and paintings. 

The Trust itself is going to be wound up at the end of the current financial year. If you've read the earlier blog posts you'll remember that this has been forced on us because of estate duty issues, and if we didn't take this course of action the Trust would be facing a huge tax bill on its tenth anniversary. Instead the whole of the work that makes up the estate will be handed back to Chris Pearson, and he will manage it himself, although we (Bob, Ella) are planning to continue to offer him the same type of support that we currently provide to the Trust.

Meanwhile we're also collecting together work for the exhibition planned to open on 12th January 2018 at Leicester Grammar school, which will take a look at the way that Dave Pearson used the image of trees in his Byzantium paintings. This will then be followed by another large exhibition at the Turnpike Gallery, Leigh, Manchester between June and August 2018, when parts of the Byzantium series that have a particular relevance to Manchester will be shown.