Exhibition pays tribute to artistic endeavour of respected Kendal painter Bardy Crewdson

The Westmorland Gazette: Bardy Crewdson self portrait Bardy Crewdson self portrait

BARDY Crewdson was a prolific artist.

One of the region’s best known and respected painters, she was elected a member of the Lake Artists’ Society in 1948 and remained within its creative ranks until her death in 2006.

Tomorrow (Friday, May 23) is the first day of a three-day Retrospective exhibition at Heaves Hotel, near Kendal, brimming with Bardy’s portraits and landscapes works, plus her early fashion drawings, which will be exhibited for the first time.

Put together by her daughter Susie Ibbotson, the exhibition pays tribute to Bardy’s artistic endeavour and lifelong passion to create images, and at the same time raise funds for MIND.

Born in 1919, Bardy was recognised by her father as a talented artist when very young. She attended the local art school in Paignton, Devon, and in 1939 went to London to train as a fashion designer at Revell’s.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Bardy joined the WRNS and her art was put on hold.

In 1944, while on leave in the Lake District, she met and married Peter Crewdson, and moved to Kendal. They had two children Susie and Christopher, and although she was always painting, drawing and sketching, she did not restart her artistic career until the late 1940s.

One unusual commission involved travelling to Philadelphia in the United States, to paint a copy of a portrait of Lady Springett, who was the mother-in-law of William Penn.

Bardy always exhibited in the Kendal Art Society and Lake Artists’ Society shows, there were exhibitions at her home, Summerhow, and an exhibition at Kendal’s Abbot Hall Art Gallery in 1977, opened by the late Robin Bagot, who was a great supporter of her work.

She regularly exhibited at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in London’s Mall Galleries.

Put together by her daughter Susie Ibbotson, the exhibition pays tribute to Bardy’s artistic endeavour and lifelong passion to create images and at the same time raise funds for MIND.

“We had always thought that we would one day hold a retrospective for our mother so that a full selection of her work could be viewed including her early unseen work,” explains Susie.

“In addition to this desire to proudly show her prolific endeavours over her lifetime, we knew that she would applaud the event being used to raise money for the charity MIND. She was devastated by the loss of her granddaughter, Jane, 10 months before her own death in 2006.

“She was so proud of her and only wished that more research could be done to help mental illness, in particular Bipolar Disorder, which her granddaughter suffered from.”

Susie says her mother - who also played piano - was not only an observant portraitist, she also had a natural quick and fluid dexterity with wet media.

“She had an unconventional approach to colour: it expressed her mood and enthusiastic personality.

“As John Ruskin wrote, ‘The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love colour the most’.”

The exhibition is open 10am-5pm.

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