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Inspirational artist’s work to go on display

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A local artist, who unexpectedly suffered a rare neurological disease and could only hold a paint brush for a short time, will see his new work featured in an exhibition which opens next week.King’s Lynn man Alan Castleton had just agreed to an exhibition at the town’s True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum in North Street, when he became ill.“Suddenly in the space of a week, I could hardly see…then swallow…then speak…or even hold a paint brush for more than half an hour at a time. From two paintings a month, one painting took me nearly six weeks to complete. Was my last great project doomed to end in failure before it had begun?” he said.

One of the works by Alan Castleton.

However, the new display of 21 paintings called ‘Nostalgia…King’s Lynn Through Time’, is to be opened next Friday, July 5, by Norfolk High Sheriff, David Flux.“This project was a personal challenge to take old and familiar black and white photos of King’s Lynn and render them in colour to give a new look to familiar scenes. I had posted some of the first examples on social media and was astonished by the feedback I received. It seemed logical to offer the museum the option of basing the whole exhibition on this theme for which I offered a minimum of 20 new paintings,” said Alan.Following the success of Maritime Art exhibitions in 2021 and 2022 and the Portraits exhibition of 2023, the museum’s trustees decided to hold a fourth. In praising Alan’s determination, museum curator, Lindsey Bavin, said: “Alan is truly an inspiration – it was like something out of a film. Even when things seemed their bleakest, he just kept going with a singular focus, a dogged determination to complete these works. That he was able to do this when sometimes he could barely hold a paintbrush and only use one eye is beyond remarkable.”Trustees chairperson Dr Paul Richards added: “We are pleased Alan Castleton agreed to display his work at the museum’s fourth summer art exhibition, All those interested in the past and present of King’s Lynn will be attracted to it and hopefully inspired by the work of this local artist.” The exhibition will be open from Tuesdays to Saturdays 11am-3pm until August 30m with free entry.Alan was born in King’s Lynn in 1951 to a well-known Northend fishing family which can trace its roots in the town for many centuries.He left town in his late teens and spent the following 33 years living and working in north Essex, much of which he spent in business management. In 2000, he returned to Lynn but during his time in Essex he would occasionally paint and illustrate and had work published in well-known art magazines such as The Artist.In 1999, he undertook a big project for the British Turkey Federation and produced a fully illustrated calendar for a Millennium charity. The project teamed him up with the late golfer, commentator and broadcaster Peter Alliss. All 13 original illustrations sold for £2,000 each and the calendar raised a further £35,000.



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