Somerville Gallery and the Coronavirus

Due to the current Coronavirus situation we have taken the sensible precaution to suspend formal opening hours of the Somerville Gallery in Otley. Whilst the foot count of visitors is usually not very heavy in a concentrated fashion, the nature of the screen panelling is such that close contact with other people is inevitable.

Should anyone wish to visit the Gallery we are quite happy to accommodate by appointment only for the time being.

By telephoning Ian or Jayne directly at the studio in Burley in Wharfedale : 01943 864349 arrangements can be made to suit most circumstances.

Ian will work solely from the studio for the time being.

We will keep the website updated with news as it develops and please don’t forget that most products can be distributed on line.


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Fate of The Animals ‘Extended Version’


‘Fate of the Animals Extended Version’ was completed in 2010 in oils on canvas.

The interpretive painting by Ian represents a bold step to restore and develop the concept of German expressionist artist Franz Marc’s original 1913 piece which was partially destroyed by an accidental fire in 1916. After Marc’s untimely death during World War I, his friend and fellow artist Paul Klee, partially restored the work but without colour in the damaged areas. There was scant information or photographic evidence available of the painting and as a result it has never been fully restored to it’s former glory.

A painting said to be prophetic of the First World War, it is a dynamic expressionist work about the destruction of nature. Marc used jagged forms and bright primary colours to contrast the violent confrontation between technology and the European wilderness. The diagonals impose a strict compositional order onto a scene that could otherwise easily dissolve into one of utter confusion. Thus, each of the figures within the composition assumes either a diagonal posture (deer, lower right), a position in conformity with an existing diagonal (horses, upper left), or is intersected by a diagonal (blue deer, centre). Secondly, these lines serve to provide an atmosphere of unremitting tension, a tension further emphasised by both the nearly total absence of horizontals or verticals, and the utilisation of a colour scheme (green on red, red on blue) designed to produce the maximum intensity of tonal contrasts. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the diagonals play an essential role in the narrative of the composition.

Ian has essentially framed the original painting with complimentary images, introducing a sense of hope for the future with the blue birds of peace and colour enhancing of the previously subdued area damaged by fire.

150 signed and authenticated limited edition prints of the work were released, a few of which may still be available at £180 directly from Somerville Arts.

The original painting is now privately owned but available for exhibition purposes.

Ian Middleton’s studio can be found at Wharfe Brow, Manor Park, Burley in Wharfedale, West Yorkshire LS29 7HJ

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