Bath artist David Cobley sells paintings to fund Bath Artists' Studios
An acclaimed Bath artist is selling off more than 500 of his paintings and drawings to raise money to secure the future of the community studios he founded 17 years ago.
David Cobley, who has painted scores of public figures including comedian Ken Dodd and the Princess Royal, has decided to hold the sale so the Bath Artists' Studios can be bought by the charity which runs the facility.
The site in The Old Malthouse, in Comfortable Place, is currently rented from landlord St John's Hospital but the lease expires at the end of next year.
Mr Cobley said he and his fellow artists had already had to move from studios in Widcombe in 2003 when rents were increased, so wanted to do anything they could to make their future more secure. He said: "If we are renting anywhere, as we were before in Widcombe, somebody else could come in, buy it and put the rent up. We have also got lots of things we would like to do here, including putting on children's art classes. But the building isn't equipped for these needs."
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Mr Cobley said money which the studios group gets from sub-letting space could then be used to refurbish the building."
Mr Cobley came up with the idea for the studios back in 1996 as a way to bring local artists together.
It has now grown to become a home for more than 50 painters, sculptors, ceramicists, printmakers and illustrators.
The 58-year-old, who has been sorting through his lifetime of artwork and preparing the pieces to go on sale later this year, said he was pleased that he could use his paintings to contribute towards the new plans for studios.
"I believe in the cause," he said. "Of course I paint for other people because a lot of my work comes from commissions. But I do like to paint for myself, I like to do things that occur to me. I think it will be really nice to think these are not going to be stuck away in a dark corner, but that they are going to be displayed on somebody's wall."
The long-term plans for the studios include establishing a drawing school, putting on more activities for young people and opening a riverside cafe, gallery and shop which would be accessible from the river path. The art sale will take place at the Comfortable Place site on June 21, 22 and 23, although some paintings will be available to buy beforehand through Mr Cobley's website www.davidcobley.com.