Hey, Hey Mobile 1965, Illustration for London Life magazine
Ian Dury’s promising early career as an artist and illustrator is celebrated in More Than Fair, a show at his former college, the Royal College of Art, in London
Dany Bubbles c1963-66, Pencil and acrylic (framed) 29″ x 20″
Before he became a much-loved and brilliantly witty singer and songwriter with, first Kilburn and the High Roads and, later, The Blockheads, Ian Dury showed a great deal of promise as an artist and illustrator. Dury studied Painting at the Royal College of Art between 1963 and 1966 where he was taught by Sir Peter Blake. During his time at the College, Dury developed a unique Pop style that combined text, bold colour and photorealist elements to reference a growing culture of music and celebrity.
Lee Marvin 1968, Pencil (unframed) 30″ x 22″
His work is celebrated at Ian Dury: More Than Fair – Paintings, Drawings and Artworks, 1961–1972, an exhibition at the RCA (above) which is on until September 1. The show was put together by Dury’s daughter Jemima who spent two years assembling her father’s collection of paintings and drawings, and garnering financial support for the exhibition both through a Kickstarter campaign and donations from amongst others, the actor Andy Serkis and singer Robbie Williams.
Tony Bennett 1965, front cover for London Life magazine
Regular CR readers will remember that we featured Dury’s work in our piece on London Life magazine. The short-lived 60s weekly was put together by a ‘dream team’ of contributors including David Bailey, Jean Shrimpton and Davd Puttnam. It was art directed by David Hilman who brought Dury (then still a student) in to contribute occasional illustrations.
“He was a friend of Brian Love, who was one of those multitalented people,” says Hillman. “They were at the Royal College together. Brian used to do stuff for me at the Sunday Times and said ‘I know a very nice young guy who could do some things for you’. This hairy monster came in and muttered ‘Alright Dave’. He did a couple of jobs on London Life and a bit on The Sunday Times but he’d already started a band. I thought it was a great shame because he was a very talented illustrator but I’m sure he made a lot more money being a pop star.”
Jemima Proust, 1969 , Aquatec, sequins and varnish
Sir Bernard and Lady Docker 1966, pencil and pastel (unframed) 24″ x 32″
To commemorate the opening of the show, Sir Peter Blake has produced ta limited edition print of Dury which is on sale for £200 at www.iandury.co.uk. All proceeds go to Macmillan Cancer Support, Graeae Theatre and Kids Co.
Ian Dury: More Than Fair – Paintings, Drawings and Artworks, 1961–1972 is at the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU until September 1. Open 11am–6pm; Sundays: 12–5pm. Closed Mondays