Saturday, 9 November 2013

The Bridgeman Art Library

More exciting activity to report on! Yesterday Margaret Mytton and I travelled to London to meet with Leonora Gummer of the Artists' Collecting Society (ACS) and Lucy Innes Williams of the Bridgeman Studio to discuss Dave's work being licensed by the Bridgeman Art Library. The original suggestions for the meeting came from our old friends Edward Lucie-Smith and Sergei Reviakin. 

The two organisations are separate but closely linked. The ACS is a not-for-profit organisation that deals with collecting artists re-sale rights for works resold over 1000 euros. This means a small percentage of the resale price of an artwork goes back to the artist, or their estate, if it is resold. This is an EU law, only available to artists in the UK since 2006. 

The Bridgeman Art Library is a commercial picture library that specialises is images of art and holds over a million images from collections throughout the world. It has offices in New York, Berlin and Paris, as well as London. It licenses the reproduction of artwork, and splits the income equally with the artists, or their estates.

So, for example,  Bridgeman holds the copyright for the work of Lucien Freud, Augustus John, John Nash, Sir Frank Brangwyn, Arthur Rackham, Carel Weight and Eric Gill. They also hold copyrights for the collections of the Ashmolean, Fitzwilliam, the Royal Collections and Manchester Museums and Galleries as well as the British Library. So this is clearly a good place for Dave Pearson's work to be made available.

We had a number of questions for Lucy - would it affect our ability to use the images locally without cost? No. Would people be able to download images and avoid payment? No, every image is water-marked until a fee has been paid. What use could the images be put to? Lucy showed us examples of artists' images used on book-covers, magazines, advertising; she assured us that the DPT could have a final say on usage, when and how it is used, and she reassured us that it is a condition of use that all images are credited. 

We went away feeling very positive about ACS and the Bridgeman the Art Library. The atmosphere in their offices was very friendly and open, as were the people we met. It seems like another opportunity to get Dave's work seen and more widely known. Over the next few days I'll be looking at the small print, and almost certainly signing the forms that will bring Dave's work to a new platform.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Things gear up..

Just as the autumn weather arrives and reminds us that we'll need to start hunkering down for the winter, the Dave Pearson Trust has suddenly sprung to life having had a relatively quiet summer.

After the visit to the studio last week by friends from Belgium, and wrapping up their purchases to protect them on the journey home, I've been sending images to Greg McGee from According to McGee in York as he has started promoting his 2014 programme of exhibitions, which includes 'Dave Pearson - Colourist'. Ironically the first images he asks for need to be in black and white, for an advertisement in the art magazine 'Jackdaw', which still prints only in black. 

Margaret Mytton and I (Trustees) have also arranged to meet Lucy Innes Williams and Leonora Gummer from the Bridgeman Art Library to look at possibilities of copyrighting some of Dave Pearson's paintings, and discuss the Artist's Resale Right. If we're lucky we may also tie this in with meeting our old friend Edward Lucie-Smith and Sergei Reviakin, who is looking at the possibility of showing Dave's work during Art 14, at Olympia.

Finally, to report that the new displays of Dave Pearson's work in the cafeteria room at Rawtenstall's the Whitaker museum and gallery, have proved very popular with visitors. Last night I met Jackie and Julian (whose See Gallery has now been superseded by their curating roles at the Whitaker) and they told me how positive the comments have been - both about the new cafeteria itself and Dave's work that enhances it. 

Sunday, 13 October 2013


I had friends visiting today from Belgium, Caroline and Rob; they have in the past bought one or two pieces of work by Dave and were keen to revisit the studio in Haslingden. Seeing it through their eyes made me realise how well organised it has become over the past year...

Our friends brought along a couple of their own friends from Den Haag, and I spent a pleasant couple of hours telling them the story of Dave Pearson and, of course, looking at his work. By the end the Trust had sold another 5 pieces of work. We then drove down the road to the Whitaker to celebrate with coffee, soup and cake in the splendid new cafe area in the museum surrounded, appropriately, by some wonderful examples of Dave's work...  

...particularly admired by everyone was the large oil-painting 'The Boat' (above).

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Reveal Rossendale Valley Art Trail

Ella Cole continues to catalogue Daves work (the pieces shown here are from last week's 'discoveries'), and she is helping me organise the studio in Haslingden so it's ready for a guided tour this coming Sunday morning as part of Reveal Rossendale Valley Art Trail.

We've decided against opening Dave's Haslingden studio for the Art Trail. In previous years we've been overwhelmed by visitors and found it impossible to keep an eye on all the work. Plus with the steep stairs, small rooms, and increasingly overcrowded spaces and we've decided to just have one guided tour on the Sunday (which is already full). But to make up for this The Whitaker (Rossendale's Museum and Art Gallery in Rawtenstall) are using the walls of the new cafe space to mount an exhibition of Dave's work. 

So Saturday 28th (10 - 4) and Sunday 29th (11-4) the local artists studios and galleries will be open to the public - you can pick up a brochure at any of the studios or the Boo - and the Whitaker also has a group show, chosen by the curators, in their main gallery space. Should be a good weekend - not to be missed!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Life returns to 54

It's been a quiet summer for the Dave Pearson Trust. Holidays of course, but mainly other work being done by the trustees is to blame. But now we expect things will begin to pick up again.

We sold the lovely ink drawing 'Yellow Cat' (above) over the weekend, and will soon be making preparations for Dave's work to be shown at Olympia as a part of Art 14. In addition there's the Rossendale Valley wide 'Reveal Arts Trail and Open Studios' on the weekend of the 28th/29th September - and although we're not opening Dave's studio it will be possible to join an organised visit through The Whitaker (Rossendale's Museum and art Gallery). 

If anyone wishes to see Dave's studio over the Reveal weekend then please contact Jackie Taylor at and she will try and fit in a special visit. The reason we're not able to open the studio itself to the public is that every room is now functioning as storage space, so there simply isn't enough display space to show work in anything like reasonable conditions. Ella Cole, who works for the Trust in cataloguing Dave Pearson's output, is also in the process of arranging the top floor in an orderly way - with shelves and drawers of work all properly labelled and numbered in line with the catalogue of work (see photo below), rather like a library, and naturally we can't afford this work to be spoiled.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

In the plan chests

Another visit to 54 today, and an opportunity to see what Ella has uncovered in her work cataloguing Dave's work. 

At the moment she is working her way through the plan chests on the top floor. There are six of these, and another three on the middle floor. Each has about 5 or 6 drawers (they vary a little), and at the moment she is going through a drawer that holds a lot of work from Dave's school and student years. So far there have been 200 drawings in this one drawer. Of course the quality varies massively, and some drawers have more work, most less - but all are particularly interesting to us as Margaret and I have never had the time to go through them systematically, so there are lots of discoveries to be made.

The drawing above of a farmyard is a very nice example, but not untypical, and probably done by Dave in the late 1950s. It's on ruled paper from a large notebook. 

Add up the numbers and it could be that the plan chests alone contain 5 (drawers) by 9 (plan chests) by 200 (drawings) = 9000 pieces just in these plan chest drawers. 

This coloured pencil drawing will be from his days at art school, and if it's not directly part of the work for the 'Astronauts' series it appears to relate to it - so probably done by Dave in about 1960.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Early work

I visited Dave's studio to day to catch up with Ella, who continues to patiently catalogue the work. We had expected to meet Greg McGee and Margaret Mytton to discuss plans for an exhibition at Greg's gallery in York. Unfortunately Greg has been taken sick overnight, so the planned meeting has been postponed. 

Instead Ella showed me some of Dave's school and early student work she is currently entering into the catalogue. Some of this early work is fascinating, such as this interior of his parent's home in London, where he would have been living at the time:

But inevitably, with someone like Dave who kept all of his output, not apparently censoring anything, there are many sketches, abandoned pieces and rejects. What to do with these? To put them all in the catalogue, or to start a censoring ourselves? Ella has chosen (with help from the Artlook software people) to create a fresh category within the programme - 'School and Student Work'.

This sketch of a baby is typical of the kind of work I'm referring to. Unfinished or not followed through pieces, probably of interest to anyone approaching Dave's work from a scholarly or research-based point of view, but unlikely to be saleable or of general interest. Putting these into their own section of the Catalogue seems to provide the answer. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013


It's a hectic period for myself and Margaret Mytton, both with full-time jobs in the arts, and to some extent work on Dave Pearson Trust projects has slowed down as a result. Still, Ella is still managing to continue to catalogue his work, and she sends me interesting images from time to time. The last of these arrived yesterday - and is shown above.  

We're also meeting with Greg McGee with a view to finalising arrangements for a show later this year at his York gallery 'According to McGee'. More news on this as it emerges...

Thursday, 23 May 2013

New website!

Finally I've found the time to rebuild the Dave Pearson website - it's at - and now it's up and running. 

It has a more extensive gallery than the old site, so dip in and have a look at the selection of paintings, drawings and prints from Dave's major periods. Plus there are a number of essays and writings about Dave. 

I still need to do a thorough check through it, as sometimes things go amiss in the process of uploading, so if anyone discovers any glitches please let me know. The only one I've found so far is that the Search Engine Optimisation programme has picked up a typo - and registers the site as Dave Person! Although I changed this as soon as I noticed it (when it showed up on  Facebook) it doesn't seem to register on search engines yet. My apologies!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Ella catalogues!

Just been to see Ella Cole at Dave's studio. Ella is now well into her stride, cataloguing Dave's output. We're now very, very close to reaching number 3000 in the catalogue - for many artists this would be a sizeable life's work. For Dave Pearson there's still plenty to go. Ella reckons it'll be at least 8 weeks before she'll finishes cataloguing all the pieces in the first room - then there's 5 more rooms plus scores of folders of work. But to be fair this first room does contain many of the smaller pieces - above is a self-portrait Ella discovered earlier this week. 

The exhibition of a selection of Dave's Bestiary paintings and a number of drawings at The Whitaker in Rawtenstall will be on until the middle of June. The Whitaker is the new name for Rossendale museum - if you want to find out more go to the equally new website - 

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Rossendale Museum

Back from a short break that included a visit to the Reina Sofia Gallery in Madrid to see the collection including Picasso's 'Guernika' - so much better displayed than it was in the Prado - and also its wonderful collection of early and mid-twentieth century Spanish art, that I know Dave would have loved. 

During these last couple of weeks the Dave Pearson Trust has been honoured to be one of the partners in the group that are negotiating with Rossendale Borough Council to manage Rossendale Museum in Whitaker Park, Rawtenstall. This museum is at quite the other end of the scale from the Prado or the Reina Sofia but not without its charm.

Things have moved very quickly and there's still much to be negotiated, but we're currently working with the Friends of the Museum to keep it open. The closure is one of the victims of the cuts being forced on to local authorities, and this scenario is probably being repeated up and down the country. Rossendale Museum is a much-loved, but sadly not much visited, local museum containing a typical combination of stuffed animals, local history artefacts, worthy paintings of ancient local dignitaries and gloomy Victorian rooms. Amongst the collection are some real gems, and there is potential to turn it into an exhilarating and special place which, along with a coffee-shop and revitalised displays, could secure a great future for it. It is also situated in a lovely setting and we're very excited to be associated with this attempt to save, and re-galvanise, a part of Rossendale's heritage.

As part of this, Julian Williams and Jackie Taylor of the See Gallery (leading partners in the rescue bid) have put together - in record time - an exhibition of some of Dave's drawings and 'Bestiary' paintings in the upstairs galleries at the Museum. If you want to come along they will be on show, along with the rest of the Museum, over the next few weekends between 1.00 and 4.30pm 

Friday, 15 March 2013

A visit to the solicitor

Earlier this month the three Trustees went to see our solicitor. These visits are infrequent, and in between them we tend to forget the complex information (to us anyway) imparted on such things as our taxation status. So every so often we go back for a refresher visit. Fortunately Stephen Parr at Woodcocks is an excellent communicator, and we leave feeling - at least temporarily - wiser and more knowledgable. 

But now we're looking ahead to the situation in 2019, 10 years after the Trust was established, when there is a tax review of the estate. Even our solicitor acknowledges that the calculations involved in this are highly complex - and a simple top-of-the-head calculation is impossible to produce. This was our main field of inquiry on this visit, and we were promised an estimate of its impact once Woodcocks had run the necessary data through their software. 

Last weekend the results arrived. Given we've no idea of what the value of Dave's Estate will be in 2019 it was based on guesswork, but the results were scary - a possible tax burden of £75,000 or more. 

Best to be prepared of course, and this is all 6 years away, but the issue is clearly a serious one. We don't understand, if I'm totally honest, a lot of this. It appears that an estate is taxed on this basis every 10 years, so the same items get taxed over and over. Can this be right? It also means that if our work to enhance Dave Pearson's reputation is successful then we're also increasing the tax burden for ourselves - and remember that this is a tax on work unsold as well as work sold, so it isn't as if we've earned any income which can be set against the tax. 

Anyway, as you can imagine, these issues, and other related questions, are all very much on our minds. Over the next few months we'll be going through this territory in more detail. With the help of Stephen Parr and his colleagues. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, 1 March 2013

A birthday

Being trustees of the Dave Pearson Trust has taken us on a number of interesting journeys over the past few years - getting involved in the making of the 'To Byzantium' film; various shennanigans involving tv and radio broadcasts; and the curating of a large exhibition of Dave's work in London - among other things. 

The curating part was trustee Margaret Mytton working in close partnership with the writer and critic Edward Lucie-Smith (above), and a few days ago we were invited to the Albermarle Gallery in London to be part of a gathering to celebrate Edward's 80th birthday. 

Edward, who got to hear about Dave Pearson's work through Derek Smith when he was directing the film, has since been a great champion of Dave's work and was instrumental in organising the London exhibition last year. 

It was clear from the people we met at the party that Edward is also a tireless supporter of young artists from all sorts of backgrounds - his interest and championing of art in developing countries, in his native Jamaica, in Iran, and young artists at the beginning of their careers in this country. This was reflected in the people we met at the Albermarle, and in a short speech Edward made, not only about the changing shape of the 'art world', but in the radical changes and opportunities opening up by the revolution in IT and the internet.

So a happy 80th birthday Edward, from all of us at the Dave Pearson Trust.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Found it!

Today I  tracked down the folder that contains most of the remaining small drawings and gouaches that Dave made in the mid- and late- 1960s inspired by his obsession with the life and work of Vincent Van Gogh. I selected a few to photograph and send to a woman who had been a student of Dave's in 78/9 and only recently returned from working in the Middle East to find out about Dave's death. She asked to buy a piece in memory of Dave, who she remembered as being 'extremely kind to me...and extremely encouraging'

Searching for that folder reminded me just how few pieces remain from that relatively early period of Dave's work, and how the Trust needs to be careful and selective about those pieces that do remain, keeping examples aside for the Trust collection. This aspect of curating Dave's work is increasingly important as we get a clearer picture from the cataloguing and ordering process, (currently being done by Ella), telling us how many pieces there are from the various and different stages of Dave's output. 

By coincidence I was contacted via this blog by Katherine Tyrrell, an artist and writer who has set up an extremely valuable website Art after Death - Resources for Artists and Art Collectors which provides, in a systematic and comprehensively factual way, links and advice for anyone who finds themselves in the position that we did on Dave's death. It's also a very useful resource for living artists who wish to consider the future of their own work, and it is clearly aimed at both US and Uk based artists. Katherine also keeps an interesting blog - Making a Mark . 

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A York exhibition?

Detail of a figure from a larger 'Bestiary' canvas.

We've been in discussion with a gallery in York about a possible exhibition of Dave's work sometime later this year, or next. Today the gallery owner, Greg McGee, visited us in Rossendale - I met his train at Accrington station. We then looked at the exhibition of Bestiary pieces at the See Gallery, and from there we drove up to Dave's studio in Haslingden. 

Greg made a selection of the kind of pieces he felt would work in his gallery, and chose a range of works from large canvases to smaller works on board and paper.

Ella was working away in the studio, and the meeting with Greg was an opportunity for Margaret and Julian to look at the progress she has made with cataloguing the work and ordering the catalogued pieces.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Discovery of the week

The cataloguing of Dave Pearson's work has gathered momentum and we're approaching number 2000 in the Catalogue of Work, although before getting too excited I need to remember that the numbering system started at 110, but nevertheless that means almost 1900 pieces have been recorded, titled and categorised. 

It can be a fulfilling job, briefly having that close, if brief, acquaintance with each piece as it comes under scrutiny. Last week Ella came across an unnoticed folder of about 100 gouache sketches on paper from the Vincent Van Gogh period of the mid and late 1960s. She sent me a photograph of one - the discovery of the week!

Saturday, 2 February 2013


It's exactly four years since the Dave Pearson Trust was formed in February 2009, six months after Dave Pearson's death. In that time a lot has happened. For anyone new to this blog, it has meant:
  • Moving all of his 15,000+ artworks out of the dilapidated studio
  • Rebuilding and major renovation of the inside of Dave's old studio and returning the artworks
  • Starting the job of cataloguing and organising of the paintings, drawings, prints and other artwork
  • Commissioning a comprehensive documentary film about Dave's work
  • Organising the showing of the film, now being shown regularly on the Community Channel
  • Overseeing the first major exhibition of Dave's work in London, co-curated by Edward Lucie-Smith
  • Publishing a booklet/catalogue with essays about Dave
  • Planning future exhibitions and on-going publicising of Dave's work
  • Developing links with local and other buyers, notably with the help of the See Gallery
  • Selling Dave's artwork, using the proceeds to support our work
The blog was something I started to chart the progress of the Trust as, in 2009, there were no guidelines as to how to go about what seemed a daunting task. All we had was our confidence that Dave Pearson's work was important and needed to be rescued from possible destruction, and then to be made known to the wide  world. 

So we've a lot to be happy about. The next four years? Well, we now have a part-time researcher and assistant, Ella Cole (pictured above), working so that cataloguing Dave's work is continuing on a more regular basis; Margaret Mytton is developing a new website to focus on Dave's small drawings and gouaches on the 'Book of Revelation'; I'm planning a major overhaul of our website; exhibitions are being planned in 2013; and I'm also going to concentrate on looking at major galleries as a home for one or two examples of Dave's major series of paintings. 

So plenty to get on with!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Full of activity - briefly

We battled up to Dave's old studio in Haslingden today for a get-together with various people, all excited by Dave's work. Ella and her husband Max delivered a desk for me to use (as Ella has, necessarily, taken over all the other work surfaces).  Julian and Jackie turned up with John, the framer, and his partner Sarah. John is the framer we tend to use, both because his work is truly excellent and because he also has a great eye for effectively solving some of the problems that turn up from time to time with Dave's work - such as how to deal with the cardboard reliefs made by Dave in the 1960s, and now looking rather vulnerable. 

Kay, my partner, also wanted to ask John about a frame for a large pencil drawing by Dave that she has recently bought, and finally Steve H, and his son Tom, arrived to collect a particularly special 'outrider' canvas associated with the 'Byzantium' series, that he has also purchased recently.  

So the studio was, briefly, full of activity despite the cold. It's incredibly well organised nowadays compared to how it was when we bought Dave's work back from storage after the building re-fit was complete. Let alone compared to how it was when Dave died. Ella's work will help this ordering of the work continue. In her first week of work she catalogued about 100 pieces of work - remarkable progress when she is only working three short days each week. 

Friday, 11 January 2013

Ella joins the team

Dave Pearson's old studio in Haslingden is now completely set to welcome Ella Cole as the person who will work there on a regular basis cataloguing Dave's output and organising his work. To this end we've equipped the studio with additional shelving, lighting and heating, as well as a desk. I spent the afternoon with Ella going through all the necessary arrangements and teaching her the basic operations of the software programme, Artlook, that we use for producing the catalogue. 

This is a significant juncture for the Trust, although it will be a while before we gain a clear idea of just how much progress Ella will make. It has taken me three years of sporadic work to catalogue about 1400 pieces (less than 10% of the total) and it will be exciting to find out exactly how rapidly Ella moves on from this. Cataloguing involves photographing, filing, measuring and entering of data - so it needs to be done carefully and with thought, and isn't something that can be done on a production line. Almost every piece of work having its own quirks and often with unique questions that need to be resolved before the entry can be completed.