Artistic Legacy

The life and times of Terry Challis....

Terry Challis, born and raised in central Watford ,was known to many Watford football clubfans for his weekly cartoons covering the highs and lows of the Hornets seasons from the early 1970s onwards, with his cartoon published in the Watford Observer newspaper after most games.

But what many fans might not know ,is of the gifted artist behind the cartoons ,who lived in West Watford with his partner Barbara Butcher, and his stepdaughter Linda,  for the last 40 years and left a large portfolio of paintings, sketches and drawings  behind as his artistic legacy after he passed away in October last year.

What these paintings reveal are a wide range of styles and influences on a talented and self taught artist, who could paint or draw in many mediums, on the subject matters closest to his heart and interests, but all reflecting his love of people and the art of people watching and observing that came so naturally to him.

A selection of these works are now about to go on display in the Watford Museum, entitled “the Unknown Terry Challis” and range from his earliest work drawn at the age of 12 ,of a circus scene which he entered for the Bushey and Watford Art Society competition at the time, before joining that society as a lifelong member .

Some of these pictures reflect his interest in other sports apart from football, especially speedway and motorcycle racing, or simply the social bonding in recreational sports and pastimes that gave him the opportunity to observe people and how they interact, whether in a pub, a tea-break at work, or remembering harvest time in the fields on his uncle’s farm where he spent some of his boyhood holidays.

 Apart from his trademark cartoon pen and ink style, he also painted in acrylics and line and wash as well as in pastels, and this exhibition shows examples of all of these mediums. Similarly, he would sometimes be inspired by the work of an artist viewed in art galleries on holiday trips to Europe, and especially France, or from the large collection of art reference books he collected, to experiment in the style of an artist he admired, like some of the French Impressionists he appreciated so much or Salvador Dali style modern art fantasy scenes.

Another aspect of his work stemmed from his love of the written word, and found expression in his paintings of characters brought to life and imagined from the novels of Charles Dickens and Cervantes’ Don Quixote, or pantomime and stage show figures from old time music hall and variety shows.

Please view his original paintings and sketches for purchase in the Gallery and Shop Sections

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