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Artist to host debut public exhibition in Bungay - at 91 years old

PUBLISHED: 06:45 03 January 2018

Derek Robson, 91, from Bungay has been painting all his life and is now set to hold his first exhibition at the Fisher Theatre.
Picture: Nick Butcher.

Derek Robson, 91, from Bungay has been painting all his life and is now set to hold his first exhibition at the Fisher Theatre. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Archant © 2018

When painter Derek Robson displays his work for the very first time he will follow the footsteps of many artists before him.

Work by Derek Robson which will feature in his debut exhibition at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay. Picture: Courtesy of David Robson. Work by Derek Robson which will feature in his debut exhibition at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay. Picture: Courtesy of David Robson.

However, few artists showcasing the fruits of their brushes will have had eight decades of work to display when they hosted their debut exhibition.

Mr Robson, of Bungay, is 91 years old and has been painting his entire adult life, however, until now he has never held a public exhibition of his work.

Paintings and drawings from Mr Robson will be displayed for all to see at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay, in an exhibition co-ordinated by his son David and Liz Taunt, his son’s partner.

Ms Taunt said: “I am an artist myself and have had work displayed at the theatre in the past. When I told the staff there about Derek they insisted he should have a show of his own too.

Work by Derek Robson which will feature in his debut exhibition at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay. Picture: Courtesy of David Robson. Work by Derek Robson which will feature in his debut exhibition at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay. Picture: Courtesy of David Robson.

“He has always been quite shy and reserved so has never held one before, even though his work is fantastic.”

Mr Robson was born on Tyneside and lived there for the majority of his life, but moved to Bungay at the beginning of the year to be closer to his son.

He enrolled as an art student at King’s College in Newcastle – then a college of Durham University –shortly after the end of the Second World War, where he studied under such leading lights of art as Lawrence Gowing, Roger de Grey and Victor Pasmore.

Following his degree though, he decided the life of a full-time artist would not enable him to provide financial security for a young family, so instead trained as a teacher.

Derek Robson, 91, from Bungay has been painting all his life and is now set to hold his first exhibition at the Fisher Theatre.
Picture: Nick Butcher. Derek Robson, 91, from Bungay has been painting all his life and is now set to hold his first exhibition at the Fisher Theatre. Picture: Nick Butcher.

He then taught in various secondary schools across the north east until his retirement 35 years ago, however, throughout his career he continued painting.

As a young man Mr Robson’s great passion was for rock climbing, and he uses his fascination for mountains and rock formations in much of his work as a basis for the development of purely abstract compositions.

A spokesman for the theatre said: “With an artistic career that now spans some eight decades, it is a remarkable that Derek has never had a public exhibition of paintings and drawings.”

Mr Robson’s exhibition – Eight Decades of Paintings and Drawings – will run from Monday, January 8 until Friday, February 2.

Work by Derek Robson which will feature in his debut exhibition at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay. Picture: Courtesy of David Robson. Work by Derek Robson which will feature in his debut exhibition at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay. Picture: Courtesy of David Robson.

Age is no barrier

Despite spending eight decades painting and drawing, Mr Robson is only now holding his first public exhibition.

Other local people who have continued their hobbies later in life include 100-year-old Harry Moorhouse from Norwich who has been a member of Eaton Golf Club for almost 50 years. He joined in November 1971 after previously playing at Bungay, and said a twice-a-week game has been the secret to his long life.

And back in September, former England women’s cricketer and Norwich resident Eileen Ash retook her driving test at the age of 105 as part of the ITV documentary 100 Year Old Driving School. Eileen, who played for the England Ladies cricket team from 1938 to 1949, now spends her time doing yoga and playing bowls and had her driving assessed on the city’s streets.

Work by Derek Robson which will feature in his debut exhibition at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay. Picture: Courtesy of David Robson. Work by Derek Robson which will feature in his debut exhibition at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay. Picture: Courtesy of David Robson.

And Olive Norris MBE, or Betty as she is known, recently hung up her delivery bag after working as a paper girl in Thompson, near Watton, for 40 years. She retired last month at the age of 88 from her six-day-a-week delivery service.

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