ARMOUR-CHELU, Ian

1928 - 2000

Born at Billericay, Essex on 10 October 1928, one of the several children of Robert Augustus Armour-Chelu, an Essex railway clerk, and his wife Violet A. N. née Clough, who married at Greenwich, London in 1922. He went to twenty-seven different schools and, at the age of 10, experienced the first of his mother's periodic abandonment of her children when they were taken into Dr Barnardo's for five months. In 1940 the children were evacuated to East Anglia, an encounter with the countryside that Ian called "a magic time". In 1942 his mother entered Ian's paintings in an 'Aid To Russia' exhibition and later he began an art course at West Ham Municipal College, but at 15, he took a job with the London Press Exchange. He then became a farm labourer but by 1946, was working as a staff artist for the Methodist Missionary Society, at the same time attending evening classes at Chelsea School of Art. In 1955 He met artist Angela M. Burfoot whom he married in the Blyth district of Suffolk in 1965 and they made a living from any work that they could find, book jackets, house plans, a vast family tree for a Belgian aristocrat and he even won the one-off Inn Sign Championship of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In 1961 the couple moved from west London to Rumburgh Place Farm, Wissett, Halesworth, Suffolk and in 1967 put a poster outside their house announcing an exhibition of their paintings when most of their work sold. That summer they held a joint show at the Yoxford Gallery, Suffolk followed by, in 1968, another in Aldeburgh. The exhibited two paintings at Ipswich Art Club in 1977 'Distant Church' and 'Church among Trees'. The first of Ian's successful one-man shows was in 1972, at the Sladmore Gallery, London. For fifteen years he developed the Suffolk watercolours which made his name. In 1983 he made his first trip to Venice, which resulted in wonderful transcendent watercolours and later, trips to France led him towards oils, and rich, warm landscapes. He died on 8 April 2000, leaving four daughters.










Works by This Painter