Nab Hill Flowers: Geoffrey Key oil on canvas – 1967
When Geoffrey Key graduated from art college, he started a career in teaching. It was at this time that he made the conscious move from painting in the style of his mentor, Harry Rutherford, to developing his own personal artistic language.
To do this, he spent two years sketching and painting hundreds of images of the Whitely Nab in Derbyshire, all capturing different times of the day and different weather. He eventually came out of his period of self-imposed artistic exile having metamorphosed into a painter with his own unique and instantly recognisable style.
A successful exhibition followed shortly after, and as his reputation began to grow, Geoffrey Key was able to leave teaching, and achieve his dream of becoming a professional, full time artist.
Whatever his subject matter, Geoffrey Key avoids imitation at all costs. To ensure this, he does not work directly from the subject, whether it is figures, horses, landscape or still life.
The reason for this is that he sees the mastery of his profession in finding his own language rather than repeating what has heard.
“If I’m doing a still life. I’ll set it up, look at it for an hour or so, put it away and then paint it. I find the mind’s great at distilling, at breaking it down into essentials. If I’m looking at it I find myself copying every detail, and that isn’t necessary. I couldn’t sit in a field painting a landscape because I would just feel I’m copying nature when photography can do a better job. Painting it from memory, recreating it on canvas can do quite another job”
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Retrospective images: Geoffrey Key Collection
Catalogue raisonné of Key’s work
Since 2000 we have been routinely photographing and recording pictures and sculpture for the now established studio database. This is a unique identifier, beginning GK and ending with a two-digit year date. It provides access information for what will ultimately form the catalogue raisonné of Key’s work and thus is important provenance. We are grateful to all who have kindly provided images of, or access to, earlier works in their collections which would be otherwise un-recorded. Should you possess a work by Geoffrey Key that is missing such a reference please email here.
Village Church: Oil on canvas 2019
Still life with skull: Oil on canvas 2012
Warrior: Bronze 1964 | Bulls head: Elm 1989