Wednesday, 2 May 2018

New Studio at Norton Conyers

At the beginning of May this year I moved my studio from above David Stead Gallery in the tiny city of Ripon, North Yorkshire, Uk where I'd worked for 15 yrs, to a larger space in the beautiful late 18th century stable block at Norton Conyers House about four miles outside the city. The gallery in Ripon continues and we have a new gallery space in Harrogate too but for the time being, Norton Conyers is taking up my time and thoughts as I strive to get back to work and start making pictures after what seems a long hiatus. Owned by the delightfully eccentric Sir James and Lady Halina Graham, Norton Conyers is a late medieval manor house with Georgian additions and is said to be the inspiration behind Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Apparently Charlotte visited Norton Conyers in 1839 and learned of a legend of a mad woman locked in the attic. This later formed the basis of Bronte's Mrs Rochester character, who was similarly kept in confinement by her husband in the novel.
The house, gardens and indeed, my studio are open to visitors on selected weekends throughout the summer so you can come and explore for yourself.

Norton Conyers House


Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Son Of Town Hall

We were excited and privileged to have Ben Parker from London and David Berkeley from Santa Fe who form Indie/folk duo ‘Son Of Town Hall’ play David Stead Gallery on Sunday, but before the gig we did a photo shoot in the studio and garden at Norton Conyers. The grounds formed the perfect backdrop for the band’s idiosyncratic characterisations and we even recorded a music video in the orangery which hopefully will appear on their website in the near future. To listen to their music go to : or search for them on Facebook and Instagram.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Thunder Storm

Quite a storm passed over Norton Conyers yesterday.....

but it wasn't long before the sun came out and the garden was full of the buzzing of bees and flutter of butterflies again.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Open Days

The iris beds are looking magnificent at the moment and both house and gardens are open this weekend; why not pop along. Oh, and my studio is open too.

Garden girls hard at work on the borders:

Art Classes

A couple of my students not looking in the least eccentric, enjoying a day's painting by the river.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

A visit from the farrier

Walter, who lives in Coachman's cottage had four of his horses re-shod this week so it gave me the opportunity to make a little drawing! - 'Farrier' charcoal and ink on paper 1050mm x 950mm

Saturday, 8 April 2017


Work goes on apace on the tunnel at Norton. Probably built in the late 17th century to keep the peasant workers out of sight from the house (nothing like the sight of a rude peasant to put one off the  pheasant terrine), it runs under the drive. It was beginning to fall into disrepair and was in danger of swallowing a car or more likely, the tanker that delivers heating oil to Walter's cottage.

'Tunnelling' sketchbook page 30cm x 30cm

The top has been exposed, bricks removed and a former made in preparation for rebuilding:

Saturday, 1 April 2017

First of Many

The woods are carpeted with the fresh green leaves of young bluebells and one or two are in flower already. 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017


Giles has been busy whilst I was away in Devon and the new compost bins at the back of the studio are completed and filling up already.