1928 - 2000

Ian Charles Armour-Chelu was born at Billericay, Essex on 10 October 1928, one of the several children of Robert Augustus Armour-Chelu (25 July 1903-1978), an Essex railway clerk, and his wife Violet A. née Clough (born 18 October 1902), who married at Greenwich, London in 1922. Ian went to twenty-seven different schools and, at the age of 10, experienced the first of his mother's periodic abandonment of her children when they were taken into Dr Barnardo's for five months. In 1940, the children were evacuated to East Anglia, an encounter with the countryside that Ian called "a magic time". In 1942, his mother entered Ian's paintings in an 'Aid to Russia' exhibition and later he began an art course at West Ham Municipal College and at the age of 15, took a job with the London Press Exchange. He then became a farm labourer but by 1946, was working as a staff artist for the Methodist Missionary Society, at the same time attending evening classes at Chelsea School of Art. In 1955 he met artist Angela Mary Burfoot whom he married in the Blyth district of Suffolk in 1965. They made a living from any work available, book jackets, house plans, a vast family tree for a Belgian aristocrat and won the one-off 'Inn Sign Championship of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'. In 1961, the couple moved from west London to Rumburgh Place Farm, Wissett, Halesworth, Suffolk and in 1967 put a poster outside their house announcing an exhibition of their paintings when most of their work was sold. That summer they held a joint show at the Yoxford Gallery, Suffolk and in 1968 held another in Aldeburgh. For fifteen years he developed the Suffolk watercolours which made his name and the first of Ian's successful one-man shows was in 1972, at the Sladmore Gallery, London and he exhibited two paintings at Ipswich Art Club in 1977 'Distant Church' and 'Church among Trees'. In 1983 he made his first trip to Venice which resulted in wonderful transcendent watercolours, and later trips to France led him towards oils, and rich, warm landscapes. Ian also illustrated 'The Lonely One' by Cecil Murray Manson and Cecilia Evelyn Drummond Manson (1963) and several other works. Ian Charles Armour-Chelu died on 22 February 2000, leaving a wife and four daughters including Francesca Armour-Chelu and Louise Armour-Chelu.

Works by This Artist