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MP's Appleby art gallery visit leads to a commission

PENRITH and the Border MP Rory Stewart visited an Appleby fine art gallery and shop to hear an update on its operations and tour its new exhibition — and commission a drawing of his mother’s house.

The Castle Fine Art Gallery, owned by Mark Hilsden, opened in August with the aim of selecting and showcasing regional artists through monthly exhibitions.

Though Mr Stewart was unable to attend the opening, he tweeted his support for the gallery and was eager to visit at the earliest opportunity.

During the visit he asked Mr Hilsden, who guided him round, about business, visitor numbers and long term goals, and then commissioned the artist to draw his mother’s house.

The present exhibition showcases some of Mr Hilsden's art and Mr Stewart expressed his appreciation for what he had seen, stopping to admire many pieces.

"I was delighted when the Castle Fine Art Gallery opened in Appleby and it was a very great pleasure to visit it for the first time," said Mr Stewart. "We are lucky to have such a vibrant art scene in Penrith and the Border and I would very much recommend a visit to the Castle Fine Art Gallery to all of those who haven't been."

 

Artist’s dream comes true with gallery opening - Cumberland and Westmorland Herald

Appleby gallery owner and artist Mark Hilsden (left) at the opening of his new venture with Kirkby Thore artist Graham Bassett and his painting of the River Eamont at Sockbridge.

Appleby gallery owner and artist Mark Hilsden (left) at the opening of his new venture with Kirkby Thore artist Graham Bassett and his painting of the River Eamont at Sockbridge.

The unveiling of a new art gallery in Appleby was the culmination of a dream for artist Mark Hilsden.

Castle Contemporary Fine Art, in High Wiend, was launched with a special opening evening. The owner and resident artist, Mark, aged 56, moved to Appleby with his wife, Philippa, last year.

A former bus driver, Mark made the move into the art world around 25 years ago when he was made redundant. Since then he has honed his craft, specialising in drawing properties in pen and ink all over the country from country cottages to sprawling castles. He continues to do this work on a commission basis.

After taking on the tenancy of the High Wiend property, Mark spent several weeks working to turn it into a gallery. “The idea is to showcase my own artwork but also I want to do regular exhibitions to showcase other artists from Eden and beyond,” he said. “Opening the gallery is something I’ve wanted to do for many a year.”

He hopes the gallery will become a place for tourists to visit, creating more places of interest in Appleby and helping to support the town’s tourism industry.

Along with the exhibitions, the gallery will also host workshops which Mark is hoping to establish.

He intends to display new exhibitions each month. His inaugural exhibition is entitled “Dreaming of Beyond” and takes inspiration from dark skies and the “great magical expanse of the starlit universe rising above the surrounding fells”.

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Castle Fine Art Gallery & Art Materials Shop | 3 - 5 High Wiend, Appleby in Westmorland, Cumbria CA16 6RD
Telephone: 07743 639432
Email: photomark@live.co.uk
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