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Auction of work by artist

PUBLISHED: 17:41 31 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:21 03 July 2010

Oscar-winning Norfolk-born actor Sir John Mills, and Tony award-winning actress Beryl Reid, had at least one thing in common apart from their exceptional acting talent.

Oscar-winning Norfolk-born actor Sir John Mills, and Tony award-winning actress Beryl Reid, had at least one thing in common apart from their exceptional acting talent.

They both liked the work of Gorleston artist Campbell Mellon.

Miss Reid paid £5 - then the best part of a week's wages for some Gorleston workers, for one of Mr Mellon's seascapes while she was appearing in the 1950 summer show at Great Yarmouth's Wellington Pier.

Sir John Mills once said: “I have been collecting pictures by various painters through the last 15 years and I always find that a Mellon painting can do more than hold its own in quite distinguished company.”

Now an oil painting titled “From Gorleston Jetty,” by the late Mr Mellon, who lived at Upper Cliff Road, Gorleston, is coming up for sale and it is expected to fetch up to £1,500 at Bonhams (correct) in London on February 19.

It is not clear yet whether Great Yarmouth Museums will bid for it and bring it back to Norfolk. They already own five Mellon pictures, including one “The South Wind, Gorleston,” while Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery also own a Mellon painting: “The Summer Sea (Gorleston Sands).”

In 1985, Yarmouth Museums staged an exhibition at the Central Library of the work of Mr Mellon and that of his close friend and mentor, Sir Arnesby Brown, who lived at White House, Haddiscoe. Coincidentally, they died within weeks of each other in 1955.

A critic said of Mellon: “...his finest pictures remain fresh and vital. His shy manner and restrained palette earned him - rather unfairly - the nickname of Melancholy Mellon, but his pictures remain an endearing celebration of childhood and of pleasure snatched beneath an unpredictable East Anglian sky.

“The play of light on sand and water fascinated him and the best of his subjects are dominated by magnificent sun-shot skies. Often cumulus clouds blow across the panel or canvas, sometimes becoming thundery, to give an authentic feeling of weather on the turn.”

Mellon was a travelling salesman and only took up painting full-time in 1918 at the age of 42.

In 1927 ,he was a founder member and first chairman of the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Art Society (now the Great Yarmouth and District Society of Artists). In 1924, he exhibited for the first time at the prestigious Royal Academy in London with the picture “August Bank Holiday, Gorleston on Sea.”

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