Local auction house Mitchells of Cockermouth (20% buyer’s premium) regularly offers Kelly’s artworks at auction, which are acquired overwhelmingly by Cumbria-based collectors.
Spirited bidding emerged for the majority of the ten Kelly lots offered in Cockermouth on September 4, including an 18in x 2ft 6in (46 x 76cm) charcoal landscape titled Fells Above Loweswater from the late 1950s. It tipped over top estimate to sell to a local buyer for £3300. Another local collector secured a gouache and watercolour titled Dearham Co-op Corner for £2300, nearly double its top estimate.
Kelly, who suffered acute bouts of loneliness and depression, also wrote numerous illustrated letters to friends and acquaintances, many containing drawings and paintings of Cumbria. Two at Mitchells, one from 1974 the other dated 1983, sold for £1200 and £580 respectively.