ARMOUR-CHELU, Ian

1928 - 2000

Ian Armour-Chelu, was 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. Ian 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, 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 Mary Burfoot [q.v.] 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 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 was sold. That summer they held a joint show at the Yoxford Gallery, Suffolk followed by, in 1968, another in Aldeburgh. He exhibited two paintings at Ipswich Art Club in 1977 'Distant Church' and 'Church among Trees'. For fifteen years he developed the Suffolk watercolours which made his name and the first of Ian's successful one-man shows was in 1972, at the Sladmore Gallery, London. 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. Ian also illustrated 'The Lonely One' by Cecil Murray Manson and Cecilia Evelyn Drummond Manson (1963) and several other works. He died on 22 February 2000, leaving a wife and four daughters including Francesca [q.v.] and Louise [q.v].










Works by This Painter