AboutLiverpool's George Melly - jazz performer, surrealist, comic, raconteur, critic and author - is captured in this exhibition of portraits by his great friend, the distinguished contemporary artist Maggi Hambling.
The exotic nature of her subject has inspired a rich, compelling celebration in works that are being shown together for the first time at the Walker Art Gallery.
The exhibition includes the last portraits of George before his death in July 2007 as well as a series that Hambling has painted since, from memory and imagination.
Her responses in paint to George's death are far from morbid however. They are tender, challenging, serious and funny. These highly original and imaginative portraits confront the question of death head-on.
'Good time George' , whose energetic stage presence apparently inspired the young Mick Jagger, is portrayed singing, joking, drinking and laughing, as befits one of Liverpol's most colourful sons.
The exhibition comprises of 29 works, including Hambling's triple portrait (1998) on loan from the National Portrait Gallery, ink drawings from life and oil paintings executed during Melly's final days, a series of portraits painted after his death, including two on loan from from The Ivy restaurant in London and a towering new waterfall triptych, inspired by George's colours. Completed in 2008, this work will is on show to the public for the first time.
Image copyright the artist.