Tributes to well-known artist David Green
Tributes have been paid to one of the best known artists in Bedfordshire.
David Green’s paintings and prints hang in homes all over the county. Through his art classes he taught and inspired hundreds of people to have a go themselves. When someone left a job or moved out of the area, a ‘David Green’ was the perfect parting gift.
His gallery on the hill in Wilden was stacked with prints and originals – mainly water colours but many in oil. Millman’s Jewellers in the centre of Bedford was his shop window. Geoff Millman, the former England wicketkeeper, was one of his students and a close friend.
David Green, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, died on January 25, aged 77. Such was his popularity that there was standing room only at St Nicholas Church, Wilden, for a service of Thanksgiving for his life on February 15.
The Rev Sheila Morton told how he’d come to the area from London as an evacuee during the war and immediately took to the countryside and village life. His mother looked after David and his brother in Renhold at first. His father, a printer on a newspaper, stayed in London. He used to cycle up for visits and then return on his bike laden with potatoes and vegetables. “Can you imagine that today,” said the Rev Sheila.
After school in Ravensden and Goldington Road, Bedford, which he left at 15, David took up an apprenticeship at WH Allen in Queen’s Park and then became a model maker at Unilever in Sharnbrook. He was good at art at school and started going to evening classes in Riseley when he left. “He loved wildlife – especially birds – and spent many a day at the RSPB Lodge in Sandy,” she added at the service. He was keen on soccer and cricket too.
David became fascinated by the work of Stanley Orchart , the Bedfordshire landscape artist, whose pictures were exhibited in a furniture store in town (and were said to be admired by the Queen Mother), and from then on he determined to become a full time painter himself - which he did in the early 1970s with Mr Orchart’s encouragement.
The success of his water colours and prints – particularly of the bridge and church at Great Barford and Felmersham - convinced him he could make a go of it and there was hardly a village in the county in which he hadn’t found the perfect scene and painted it – often from his car. Sometimes, he went farther afield to paint - in Suffolk and to the colleges in Cambridge. He held exhibitions there and in London. Sarah Ferguson opened one in Pall Mall where his work was on display.
The Bedford Suspension Bridge on Regatta Day and the Town Bridge were other popular pictures. In 1993 he was commissioned by Bedford Rugby Club to paint a picture to present to retiring referee Fred Howard officiating in a match between the Blues and Llanelli. He painted pubs for brewers Charles Wells and many of the pictures were reproduced on table mats.
David’s great rock was his wife Eileen who died four years ago. She was a daughter of the local farming family, the Pells, who gave the couple the cottage on Chequers Hill that David turned into the gallery where homeowners used to flock at weekends to find a picture of a local scene to hang on their walls.
“Geoff used to joke that David had a perfect life just doing his painting, while Eileen did the running around and looking after him,” said Beryl Millman, Geoff’s widow.
“David used to say that Geoff had all his best work at discount prices,” she added. “We certainly loved his paintings and had lots of them.”
The couple are survived by their son, Brian, who asked Tobin Wallace-Sims to choose and deliver the reading at the Thanksgiving Service. He was a friend of Brian’s brother, Graham, who died in a car accident in 1992.
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Weather for Bedford
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 13 C to 24 C
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Wind direction: North west
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