Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 27°C

min temp: 17°C

Search

Ipswich: Waterfront art gallery celebrates 20 years

10:52 04 February 2014

Antony Coe has been running the John Russell Gallery in Wherry Lane, at the Waterfront for 20 years.

Antony Coe has been running the John Russell Gallery in Wherry Lane, at the Waterfront for 20 years.

Gallery owner Tony is still sharing his love of East Anglian art

Almost 20 years ago, when Tony Coe opened his art gallery at the Waterfront, very little development had taken place in the area.

It was very much an industrial, working docks.

There was no marina and no luxury boats and yachts moored up.

There were still commerical ships arriving with coal and wood, occasionally, and trains on tracks on the quayside.

He admits he wondered if he made the right decision, at first, to move down from the town centre.

“I have been here at the Waterfront 20 years. The Waterfront is the jewel in the crown of Ipswich now,

“There was hardly anything here, apart from the pub next door, and no restaurants.

“We are the only commercial art gallery in Ipswich.

“Now we are probably the oldest standing contemporary art gallery in East Anglia. A lot of others have come and gone.

“We don’t sell re-productions.

“We are dealing with professional artists. Each has a distinctive style and every piece is unique.

“I have always dealt with East Anglian painters, from Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshires, painters and printmakers.”

The historic former warehouse in Wherry Lane, part of the Isaac Lord complex, provided a blank canvas for an art gallery, he said.

“There was a lot of wall space, and we had to put in doors and windows, but it was much better than taking a high street shop unit with a shop window.”

Tony, also a well known local musician from the local scene in the 1960s and 1970s, met jazz legend George Melly when he was playing professionally.

And George Melly officially opened the John Russell Gallery for him.

Maggi Hambling, who had been at Ipswich Art School at the same time as Tony, was among the guests.

“We were absolutely heaving,” he said, “both in here and in the alley outside.”

Tony studied at Ipswich Art School under Colin Moss and then went to the study print making and design at college.

“I have always specialised in print making and lithography,”

He worked at Ipswich printers Cowells before following his passions, music and art.

The relationship between artist and gallery owner was an important one, he said.

“I have been working in the business for 40 years and I still enjoy it, 24-7.

“You provide the backing and the marketing for their works and you seem them develop. They work hard for 40 years before becoming an overnight success!

“Michael Coulter is 75 now and I have backed and promoted a book of his work this year.”

Some of his regular artists are in the veteran stage now, like Constance Stubbs, Ken Cuthbert and John Brunsdon.

Unique pieces of contemporary art were in the reach of a wide range of customers, he said.

“we don’t sell to them, they buy from us.

“I deal with some very nice people.

“It could be the guy in his mac, with a roll of £1 notes in his pocket. Art is a very individual thing. It is all about personal taste.”

Among his customers over the years have been Sir Hugh Casson of the Royal Academy and rock star Bill Wyman.

The next main exibition is by Suffolk printmaker Michael Carlo which runs from February 17 until March 15.

The John Russell Gallery, 4-6 Wherry Lane

Open from 9.30am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday

0 comments

Marcus Evans

Brazilian police investigating allegations of Olympic ticket-touting have released emails between a senior Irish official and Ipswich Town Football Club owner Marcus Evans.

Tower Ramparts, Ipswich, as staff poured from William Prettys works in the mid 1890s

The site of one of Ipswich’s major employers until the 1980s - Willaim Pretty’s - is now a car park, writes David Kindred.

Andrew Bloomfield took this photo of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service fighting the fire in the old Fisons building in Paper Mill Lane, Bramford.

A fire at the old Fisons building in Paper Mill Lane, Bramford, has been extinguished.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

A rap-loving noisy neighbour has been taken to court for continually disturbing his Ipswich neighbours with his music.

Ben Gummer, left, at the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and EADT EU referendum debate at UCS in Ipswich

In the third of five three-minute interviews, Ipswich MP Ben Gummer reflects on the European Union referendum and what it means for the town.

Aldeburgh beach was packed with people enjoying the sun on Wednesday 24th August.
L-R Chris and Jane Linford,Jan and Ken Garratt.

With the school summer holidays drawing to an end East Anglia’s tourist hotspots are gearing up for bumper crowds looking to make the most of the bank holiday weekend.

Skye Biggs with her mum Lana Heath.

All little Skye Biggs, of Felixstowe, wants from life is a day devoted to her favourite TV character.

The winner of the Get Caught Reading competition was Amanda Williams who sent in a photo of her daughters Cahir and Eira sitting in lockers at Haverhill swimming pool.

Dozens of creative entries have been submitted into the Suffolk Libraries Get Caught Reading and Bookface competitions as a means to inspire readers.

Fire station in Princes Street, lpswich

One of two full-time appliances based at Princes Street in the town has left the station as part of the shake up of Suffolk’s fire services approved earlier this year.

St Elizabeth Hospice have revealed a new pig   Dr Trott and Nurse Honey-Cured

The Pigs Gone Wild trail has just days left to run but before we say Ta Ta Trotters, we want to know which is your favourite pig.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24