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Painter's lifetime of work at the easel to be sold off

By This is Devon  |  Posted: March 11, 2011

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ONE of Devon's best-known artists has a headache – too many paintings and not enough room.

After a lifetime at the easel Wilf Plowman, 82, whose work has been bought by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal and billionaire Arab oil sheikhs, has decided to have a clear-out.

He is offering up to 40 works at half-price and is considering auctioning off paintings for the Royal Air Force Association.

Mr Plowman, who served in the RAF after the Second World War, lives in a two-bedroom bungalow at Lympstone with his wife Doreen.

He does most of his work in a small upstairs studio and it was there that he realised he had too much art to cope with.

He said: "I am afraid I am coming to the end of my painting life. I seem to have lost my inspiration and so I think it is right to get rid of these paintings that are around the house.

"In all there must be 30 or 40 of them, and I really would like other people to enjoy them.

"Normally the larger pictures, like the one of the aircraft, would go for £1,000 – but it will be a half-price sale, with the smaller ones going for only £150. I am also thinking about auctioning them off for charity and RAFA comes to mind.

"I just have so many paintings but I am more or less giving up painting so it is time to make some room."

Mr Plowman said he had yet to alert Buckingham Palace of his sale but it is likely the royal family would be interested.

Previous paintings have won royal approval – Prince Philip ordered one which showed him in a carriage-driving contest, while Princess Anne bought one of herself riding.

The Royal Family at Work and at Play depicts the Queen, Prince Philip in his carriage, Prince Charles playing polo and Princess Anne riding. They are also shown engaged in public duties – Trooping the Colour, laying wreaths at the Cenotaph and Prince Charles and Princess Diana meeting the ruler of Kuwait, Sheikh Saad-Al-Saba.

The grandfather of four, who ran art classes through Exeter College and Devon County Council, said: "I like the royal family, they are wonderful people.

"Prince Philip bought a painting of himself driving a coach and four, which he heard about after I exhibited it at the Bicton Horse Trials. The organiser of the Horse of the Year show suggested I send Prince Philip a photograph of the painting.

"He invited me to Buckingham Palace and decided he wanted to buy it. I think I must have inferred I could have got a bit more for the painting, but I wasn't worried because it was a privilege.

The sale of prints of Princess Anne's painting has raised thousands of pounds for Save the Children.

Other pictures commemorate wartime achievements – Spitfires and Hurricanes flying over English countryside, Starlight Attack depicts the 1982 assault on Two Sisters in the Falklands by 45 Commando. Others, like Three-Ring Circus, are more lighthearted.

"I always try to get a bit of fun into the paintings," said Mr Plowman.

People interested in the paintings can call Mr Plowman on 01395 266422.

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