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Artist, 98, holds first solo art exhibition and sale after 60 years in the field

PUBLISHED: 17:35 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 18:53 16 May 2018

Artist Julian Macey,98, is getting ready for his first solo exhibition.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Artist Julian Macey,98, is getting ready for his first solo exhibition. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

For artist Julian Macey the flatlands of Norfolk have given him the most exciting and inspiring vistas, and untold hours of quiet, painting joy.

Artist Julian Macey,98, is getting ready for his first solo exhibition.
Picture: Nick ButcherArtist Julian Macey,98, is getting ready for his first solo exhibition. Picture: Nick Butcher

As a “stranger” to the county he felt compelled to preserve what he saw in his canvases, creating an archive of country life to revisit and treasure.

He said: “I had hoped in my own little way that I might have made a record of things and how I saw them as a stranger to Norfolk.

“As people we all become familiar with what is around us, but I was seeing it for the first time.”

At the age of 98 the Second World War army veteran could be forgiven for taking it easy and putting his feet up.

Artist Julian Macey,98, is getting ready for his first solo exhibition.
Picture: Nick ButcherArtist Julian Macey,98, is getting ready for his first solo exhibition. Picture: Nick Butcher

But Mr Macey, from Bradwell, is staging his first ever solo exhibition and sale in Great Yarmouth library galleries.

Some 47 works and 24 miniatures featuring familiar rural scenes spanning crabbing at Walberswick, Horsey Mill, Cley Church, marshes and farmhouses are being prepared for the exhibition which opens on Thursday.

Some of them were painted 50 years ago, others sketched out in the last two weeks.

For Mr Macey each image represents a day out and a memory - but the time was right to let them go, he said.

Artist Julian Macey,98, is getting ready for his first solo exhibition.
Picture: Nick ButcherArtist Julian Macey,98, is getting ready for his first solo exhibition. Picture: Nick Butcher

Although he only ever painted for pleasure and never to sell he said he was excited about the prospect of the sale and flattered by the level of interest with some 80 people coming to the private view.

A great grandfather Mr Macey was born in Somerset and came to Norfolk after he was de-mobbed.

Having set up the Shrublands Youth and Adult Centre in Gorleston in 1949 he continued to work for the service for 30 years until retirement.

He was persuaded to take up his brushes by Sir Winston Churchill’s personal toastmaster. The master of ceremonies said the pastime was a good stress-buster and that if the prime minister could find time then so could Mr Macey.

Artist Julian Macey,98, is getting ready for his first solo exhibition.
Picture: Nick ButcherArtist Julian Macey,98, is getting ready for his first solo exhibition. Picture: Nick Butcher

Because he had visited the social club for free and then given him a gift of brushes Mr Macey said he felt obliged to give it a go. He soon fell in love with the gentle hobby, committing tranquil scenes to canvas.

The gallery will be open from 10-4pm Thursday May 24 to Saturday May 26.

Prices range from £130 to £450.

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