Country art is

21 August 1998

Country art is

shown & sold

in a real country setting


A COW shed on a working farm may seem an unlikely venue for an art exhibition, but not for leading countryside artist Trevor Boult who has a picture hanging in the Queens drawing room at Sandringham, and believes in displaying and selling his paintings in a natural setting, not in galleries or through agents

Cattle sheds at The Hollies Farm, in the small Warks village of Copston Magna, which will be the venue for Trevor Boults exhibition, are normally the winter housing and calving quarters for a 45-cow suckler herd. Since he turned the cows out to grass at the end of April, farmer David Toone has been working hard to provide pristine conditions for more than 100 paintings and the several thousand visitors expected over the August bank holiday.

This will be Trevors eleventh biennial show and the second to be held at Copston Magna. He met David four years ago when they were visiting a mutual friend in hospital. At the time he was looking for a venue for his 1996 exhibition and The Hollies seemed ideal. So it was to prove, attracting some 6000 visitors over four days.

For David, whose family has farmed in the village for more than 200 years, and his wife Anne, it is not just an art show. They see it as providing a family day out in the countryside, an opportunity to visit a farm and enjoy home-made refreshments, with the proceeds going to the village church and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.

During the four days of the exhibition Annes kitchen becomes a scene of great activity, providing ploughmans lunches, tea and cakes. She is ably supported by a team of local people, members of the church and the NFU, who supply the home-baked food and help to keep the refreshments flowing.

&#42 Detailed realism

The popularity of Trevors very detailed and realistic water colours and drawings of countryside scenes has grown considerably over the past few years, and demand for his work now exceeds production. Although he chooses subjects which have a universal appeal he is uncompromising in his approach: "I have never painted anything that I have not wanted to," he says.

"I have worked in the Cotswolds and Yorks as well as around my native Warks but always on subjects which look natural. I have been approached to paint such things as favourite vintage tractors, but normally the owners want them looking too perfect. My portrayals reflect life, including the mud and rust.

"Having been brought up in a town, I am able to bring a city dwellers sense of wonderment of the countryside to my pictures. As a result of my work I have learnt so much about the country and hedgerows and some of my best friends are now farmers."

Trevor went to Moseley School of Art when he was 13, trained as a graphic artist at Birmingham College of Art and gave up full-time teaching to develop a career as a professional artist in 1983. He now works at an easel in the dining room and much of his home in Balsall Common, between Coventry and Solihull, is given over to what has become very much a family affair.

He and his wife, Wendy, run their own publishing business based on his work, while upstairs their son Andrew is developing his own career as an artist. Examples of Andrews work, which has the same detail and sensitivity of touch as his fathers while reflecting his own particular interest in architecture and buildings, will be included in this years exhibition.

Although in commercial terms it is his livelihood, Trevor does not just measure the success of his exhibitions in numbers of pictures sold. He is equally concerned that they should give enjoyment and be a source of assistance for others.

As a result, he is not only delighted that funds raised will be used to support the restoration of the village church and the farming community, through RABI, but also he will be raffling an original picture to raise money for cardiac research at St Georges Hospital in London.

Nicholas Bond

*Trevor & Andrew Boults exhibition of original water colours and prints will be at The Hollies Farm, Copston Magna, just off the A5 at the junction with the Fosse Way (B4455) on the Warks/Leics borders, from Sat, Aug 29 to Tue, Sep 1, 10.30am to 8pm (6pm on Tue). Entrance and parking is free.

The suckler herds winter accomodation at The Hollies becomes a gallery over the August bank holiday weekend when Anne and David Toone (below) welcome thousands of visitors to the farm, raising money for the local church and the RABI.

Andrew Boult is developing his own career as

an artist. His work will also be on view.

One of Trevor Boults very detailed and realistic watercolours which will be on sale at The Hollies.

Trevor sets out to portray real country life, mud and rust included.

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