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Allonby

A GUIDE TO THE PICTURESQUE VILLAGE ON THE SOLWAY COAST

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SHEILA FELL

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Sheila Fell was born in Aspatria in 1931 and although she spent most of her working life in London, she painted brooding Cumbrian landscapes in a sweeping style reminiscent of , Paul Cezanne . At the age of 17 she enrolled at the Carlisle School of Art where she was encouraged to study textile design rather than painting. She ignored this advice and within two years gained a place at St Martin’s School of Art in London.  She started out as a freelance painter, working nights at a cafe. At the age of 24 she held her first exhibition at the Beaux Arts Gallery in London. The exhibition was a great success and brought her into contact with L S Lowry who purchased some of her artwork and went on to become a friend, mentor and supported her financially with a weekly allowance and by buying her work.

 

In 1958 she joined the teaching staff at the Chelsea School of Art and during her regular holidays to visit her parents back in Cumbria, Lowry often accompanied her and would drive her to local places such as Allonby and encouraged her to draw the Solway coast. Sometimes he would draw with her and sometimes he just watched.

 

She started exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1965, becoming a full member in 1974. However Sheila died in 1979 from alcohol poisoning, aged just 48. It is thought that she painted only a few hundred pictures in her life time but her work continues to be highly prized amongst collectors and can be found in major public collections. Lowry suggested that she was arguably the greatest landscape painter of her age.

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