Portillo’s brush with Exmouth

Portillo’s brush with Exmouth

MICHAEL PORTILLO’S  popular BBC television series ‘Great British Railway Journeys’ pulled into sunny Exmouth this summer and  met up with the well-known Exmouth artist Ray Balkwill.

The programme came in search of the haunts of Victorian painter Francis Danby, who spent his last years in the town and is mentioned in Bradshaw’s Railway Guide.

Ray, who was one of those instrumental in having a blue plaque erected in Danby’s honour when he found the great man had been omitted from the town’s Heritage Trail, took the production team down to a favourite viewpoint on the estuary both he and Danby admired.

The one-time Minister of Defence, who said he had never picked up a brush before, added a dab of blue to the canvas of Ray’s half-finished sky – “Possibly doubling its value at a stroke!” Ray said.

The new series of Michael Portillo’s ‘Great British Railway Journeys’ sets off in January on BBC4.

John Fisher

Featured image:  ALL OUR OWN WORK Michael (resplendent in trademark yellow jacket) and Ray Balkwill talking art at Exmouth

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