This exhibition is both a Final Chapter and a New Beginning. The Final Chapter in March 2017 when having reached the marvellous age of 100 years my aunt, Marie Walker Last, died peacefully at her home on the high hill overlooking Ilkley where she had lived for the past 45 years.
The New Beginning as a journey which started when her studio at Menston revealed all its treasures. Virtually unused for the last 10 years , filled with dust and dying tubes of paint – it proved to be a storehouse of earlier works on canvas and paper spanning all her Ilkley years.
Not for many years have such a large body of her works been available for viewing and purchase – and probably never will be again.
It was her spoken wish that I should ‘do something’ with the studio, generously expressed with no particular conditions, more a challenge than an instruction, asked with an enigmatic smile.
How fortunate that time should coincide with a New Beginning for the Manor House in Ilkley who have been so supportive, agreeing to host this final exhibition and Studio Sale in their inaugural year
when the Manor House comes into the care of the
people of Ilkley.In years past, Marie had shown
her paintings in exhibition here, in this historic
building, and I can think of no more appropriate
space in which to hold this exhibition and provide
an opportunity for these paintings to find new homes
in the local area and beyond.
J David Walker