'Nobody wants the responsibility' - Town's public art collection for sale

Campbell Mellon painting of Framlingham Castle

Framlingham Castle by Campbell Archibald Mellon who died in Gorleston in 1955. The painting is part of a permanent collection due to be sold at auction. It's owners are hoping it will catch the eye of Ed Sheeran whose song Castle on the Hill is about growing up nearby. - Credit: Great Yarmouth and District Society of Artists

They were the cream of the crop - selected for their talent and quality, and to make their home town proud.

But a historic art society's permanent collection amassed over 40 years is being broken up and sold by auction later this year because nowhere can be found to display it and the "superb" pictures are simply gathering dust.

Great Yarmouth and District Society of Artists 90th anniversary art exhibition at Yarmouth library.P

Great Yarmouth and District Society of Artists 90th anniversary art exhibition at Yarmouth library.Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Margaret Carver, president of the Great Yarmouth and District Society of Artists, said times had changed and there was no appetite locally to see all the works - which have flowed from the pastels, pens and brushes of the society's best artists - on display together.

The collection comprises pieces from Campbell Mellon, Colin Burns and Geoffrey Chatten among others whose works are keenly sought after.

None have ever come to market before and will be sold for charity.

Daisies by Geoffrey Chatten

Daisies by Geoffrey Chatten will be going under the hammer at Keys in Aylsham as a permanent collection is sold off. - Credit: Great Yarmouth and District Society of Artists

Mrs Carver, 79, said she hoped a large oil of Framlingham Castle would catch the eye of Ed Sheeran who famously sang about his childhood in Castle on the Hill.


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She added that "nobody wants the responsibility" for displaying the collection as a complete set.

Having been downsized from over 70, it now comprises some 42 of the best paintings chosen for their merit over the last 40 years.

Artist Julian Macey, pictured aged 98, getting ready for his first solo exhibition. Picture: Nick Bu

Julian Macey who started the permanent collection which is now being sold at auction. Although he never got to see it on permanent display Margaret Carver said the process of building it had been exciting and that she would treasure the memories. - Credit: Nick Butcher

It was started by Julian Macey as a way of inspiring artists and saw works displayed in public spaces such as offices and libraries.

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Some were donated while others were bought by the society which fundraised for them. 

Great Yarmouth and District Society of Artists 90th anniversary art exhibition at Yarmouth library.R

Great Yarmouth and District Society of Artists 90th anniversary art exhibition at Yarmouth library.Richard and Margaret Carver hanging some of the work.Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Mrs Carver said that while Mr Macey's dream of having the works on permanent display together for the town had not been realised, the sheer joy and excitement he put into the collection would stay with her.

She said: "They were chosen by a panel from the annual exhibition. Being chosen was a real honour and something for members to aspire to.

"It was Julian's baby and I just got carried along on a wave of enthusiasm. Sir John Arnesby Brown was our first president and you cannot see his work in Yarmouth - I think that is what inspired him.

"I am proud of what we achieved and at the end of the day the money will go to good causes."

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