Escape to the Country With Celia Perceval

Australian artist, Celia Perceval, was born in Melbourne’s bayside suburb of Brighton, in 1949. She was the third of four children born to famed Australian artists John Perceval and his wife Mary (nee Boyd) Perceval, a member of the great Boyd artistic family clan. The Perceval’s four children are: Matthew, Tessa, Celia and Alice.

Celia Perceval is primarily a self-taught artist. She developed her inspiration for drawing and painting in the artistic environment created by her parents. Her earliest mentors included members of Melbourne’s famous “Angry Penguins” group, Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Albert Tucker and, of course, her father, John Perceval.

In 1963, the Perceval’s travelled by sea to England, visiting exotic ports on the way from Ceylon, and the cities and ports along the Red Sea and coastline Europe. They returned to Australia two years later settling in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, where she and her father often painted in the bush around the ACT. It was here that she held her first exhibition at the age of sixteen. By the age of eighteen, Celia Perceval had married and moved back to London where her son Timothy was born.

From 1968-1971, Celia lived and worked in a variety of towns and countries including the small village of Tourrettes sur Loup in the South of France; a tiny hamlet in northern Italy, followed by time spent in England, Ireland, Wales and India. During this period, she would make many trips back to Australia as she maintained a deep affection for the bush that shaped her childhood.

  • In 1971, Celia held her first solo exhibition at the London Hilton Art Gallery. The following year she exhibited at Cremorne Gallery, Sydney, Australia.
  • Deciding to return to Australia in 1973, she held further exhibitions at the Australian Galleries, Melbourne, the Bonython Gallery, Sydney (1975), and again at the Australian Galleries, Melbourne (1976).

With a yearn to move once more, Celia returned to England and Europe visiting many countries on the way, including: Thailand, Afghanistan, Nepal and Turkey. Eventually, she settled in Wales where she built her studio from 17th century ruins. Celia was based there for twelve years whilst painting throughout the United Kingdom and Europe.

  • Over the next ten years or more, Celia has continued to hold exhibitions around the world from Wales (1978, 1985, 1986, 1987), and London (1983).
  • Celia has made regular painting trips back to Australia and held numerous exhibitions in Brisbane (1977), Armidale, New South Wales (1977), Melbourne (1979, 1980, 1984), and Sydney (1980).

Celia returned to live permanently in Australia in 1988. She spent many months painting  in the Australian bush, often setting up camp in remote areas such as the Stirling Ranges in Western Australia, the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, and the Gulf and Cape areas of Queensland. She believes that painting ‘on the spot’ enhances the effect of her painting, capturing the light and atmosphere of the landscape. She built her studio on the hill on the Sapphire Coast in 1997, where she now lives and works.

Celia has continued to exhibit around Australia since 1990 in Sydney (1990, 1993, 1995, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010), Newcastle NSW (1991), Melbourne (1992, 1996), Kangaroo Valley (1999), and Perth (2006, 2007, 2010)

  • Her art is part of the collections of the Bendigo Regional Art Gallery in Victoria; the New England Regional Art Gallery and the Armidale City Art Gallery in New South Wales and the Croft Castle in Shropshire, England.

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