Chesterfield portrait exhibition hopes to reunite paintings with people featured in them

Portraits by a former Chesterfield College of Art principal are being displayed in an exhibition – and it is hoped they can be reunited with the people who feature in them.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 2:21 pm

The family of artist Don Yarrington have curated an exhibition of their father’s work, which is open to the public at West Studios, on the Chesterfield College campus, over the next few weeks.

Don created the portraits of art students when he was the Head of Fine Art and later Acting Principal of Chesterfield College of Art in the 1970s and 80s.

Following his death, Don’s family are now keen to see the paintings gifted back to those who sat for him in his art classes.

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One of the paintings by Don Yarrington which is on display in West Studios until July 16
One of the paintings by Don Yarrington which is on display in West Studios until July 16

Clare Yarrington, one of Don’ s daughters, who was also a part-time art student at the college and is now a practicing artist, told about the creative process her father followed.

She said: “Dad painted because he loved to paint. He created these portraits in class as demonstrations for students as part of his teaching process. He could work incredibly quickly and would paint in between teaching his students, sometimes completing the works at home.

"While he worked at the art college he enjoyed painting a whole range of people, including students, members of teaching staff, and the college caretakers.”

Don Yarrington created the portraits of art students when he was the Head of Fine Art and later Acting Principal of Chesterfield College of Art in the 1970s and 80s

Alison Yarrington, Don’s eldest daughter, was a foundation art student at the college and went on to study Fine Art and Art History at Reading University, completing her PhD at the University of Cambridge.

She added: ““Any work of art’s value is in what it means to the person who keeps it and enjoys it. I hope the paintings mean something special to the sitters who are in the paintings. It may bring back memories of being a student or being part of the college.”

“It was part of Dad to create something because he loved it. We want people to have the paintings they feature in because he would have loved that. It will be nice for us to think that they are going to people for whom they meant something and have some personal connection.”

There are 27 portraits on display in the public exhibition which is open at the Sheffield Road gallery between 10am and 4pm on weekdays until Friday, July 16.

More of the paintings by Don Yarrington which are on display in West Studios until July 16

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