Chiswick Grammar 1st VIII win "School Eights", Horseferry Regatta 1963 (Philip far right)
Born between V.E. and V.J., Philip Dunn was forced (as rhubarb and asparagus) to grow up in Teddington. In 1956, against all predictions, Philip became an unhappy commuter to Chiswick County Grammar School for Boys. Here he was 'Dunn' all the time, became the longest serving and most hated member of the 1st Eight Rowing Crew; but otherwise hid in the Art Room from the prospects his parents had planned. They gave way only after pressure from the school, when he left.
Born London 26 May 1945
Attended Christchurch Infants and Junior School, Teddington 1950-56
Chiswick County Grammar School for Boys 1956-63
Self Portrait, 1965 (Gouache on strawboard)
In early 1964 he got a place at Twickenham College of Technology (Graphics Art Department), from where he soon transferred to Hornsey College of Art. There he was persuaded to drop all ideas of being practical to undertake a painting degree course, the non-vocational nature of which still eludes him, as he never has had any ambition to be an amateur.
Despite all efforts, he could not be cured of his chronic addiction to painting and, as the college collapsed in a storm of student unrest in 1968, he was certified and returned to the community.
Twickenham College of Technology (Graphic Art Department) 1964
Hornsey College of Art 1964-68 [Dip. A.D. Fine Art (painting) 1968]
Self Portrait, 1973 (Gouache on board)
Philip saw teaching as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself - the end being his means. But, before embarking on a one-year post-grad Art Teacher's Certificate course in Brighton, he inured himself against inevitable and vehement rejection and dragged his hopelessly copious portfolio towards the most prestigious galleries London had to offer.
At the first, (Roland, Browse and Delbanco in Cork Street, Mayfair) the directors chose the very pictures that had, the year before, caused him to be abandoned by his Personal Tutor, who happening by at that very moment to collect his own unsold work, agreed their choice to be the best by one of his finest students ever!
Brighton College of Art 1968-69 [Art Teacher's Certificate 1969]
Exhibited at Roland, Browse and Delbanco, London 1968-69
and provisionally in Richmond and Kingston-upon-Thames as well as Brighton.
Philip in a rogue's gallery, 1975
So, having sold out of his early style of work in just a few days, Philip rented a dilapidated but airy flat in Palmeira Square, Hove, where he started to paint as if paint itself was going out of fashion, which of course it was.
1970 found him teaching at a school north of Portsmouth (and later at Longhill School near Rottingdean), while showing his paintings through the John Whibley Gallery (again in Cork Street). Here he had his first one-man show in 1974, which included the first of his depictions of deckchairs. The people in these were mere changes of colour in the stripes: ciphers of the personalities of the sitters; executed in unrelenting brash oil colour with the texture of his mother's attempts at cake icing.
Taught art at Cowplain Secondary School for Boys, near Portsmouth 1969-71
Longhill School, Rottingdean 1971-73
Dorothy Stringer High School (Moulsecoomb Annexe), Brighton 1975-76
Held art classes for adults at various locations 1971-97 (notably, Whitehawk Community Centre, Brighton 1974-95)
John Whibley Gallery, London 1970-75 (one-man show 1974)
Carole and Philip get married, 1 July 1978
Although he had been married before, Philip met his match with Carole and he had found and fallen in love with deckchairs and so had his public.
During the following few years, Philip's paint became thinner and so did his wallet. Searching for outlets for his paintings of Brighton in Brighton itself, he found only unscrupulous rogues. But four Writs later, with his money and his use of colour finally under some sort of control and, with the help of his wife, Carole, and his best man, Mike, Window Gallery was conceived and born in 1982.
Exhibited at St. Anne's House, Lewes 1976 (one-man show)
Vonda's Gallery, London 1977-78 (one-mans show 1977)
James Rushton Fine Art, Brighton 1977-78
Axis Gallery, Brighton 1977-80 (one-man shows annually)
Brillig Art Centre, Bath 1979 (one-man show)
Midton Gallery, London 1981 (one-man show)
Seen Gallery, London 1980-82 (New York Art Fair 1981, one-man show 1981)
Open Studios, Brighton 1981 (one-man show)
In front of his paintings, Window Gallery 1985
Looking for ways to make his art more affordable, Philip immediately started to organise reproductions of his work, little realising that the printers' art consists almost entirely of creating the innovative and ubiquitous errors named after them. Nevertheless, his enthusiasm for ploughing all the profits back into stock was only slightly diminished when the taxman wanted his slice of the massive stacks of prints in cash, rather than kind.
However, he and Carole managed to put the deposit down and do up a 'two-up-two-down' in the Fiveways area of Brighton, around the time of his 40th birthday. Respectability and a modest garden were theirs at last. The flat in Palmeira Square was kept on as his studio and, as it was rented, magically became tax deductible. For the next few years hardly another soul entered this domain and, thus isolated Philip was free to indulge his private vices and, of course, to paint.
Instrumental in establishing Window Gallery 1982 and exhibited there for 25 years (one-man shows 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1996, though some with guest artists)
Getting to grips with his subject, 2000 (photo courtesy of Roger Bamber)
During this period Philip became heavily involved in organising and building the Exhibitions at the Corn Exchange for Brighton Festival, until these exhibitions became "too popular" for that particular artistic dictatorship, which preferred its camp more concentrated.
Never one to hold his light under anything other than a deckchair, when fellow artist, Ned Hoskins invited him to join the Fiveways Artists' Open Houses, making it "Five at Fiveways", Philip jumped at the chance of sometimes having his cobwebs scrutinised by hordes of muddy-booted and apparently penniless critics intent only on helping themselves to cuttings from his prized collection of geraniums. Mostly though he enjoyed it, as did the many thousands who visited his Millennium Sculpture Park and turned it into a car park. He and Carole had moved to Ditchling in 1996, where they had found enough space for a proper garden and where, for donkeys' years, they kept a couple of rescued donkeys.
Exhibited at Brighton Festival Corn Exchange Exhibition 1984-1990
Fiveways Artists' Open Houses 1990-95, under whose auspices he celebrated the Millennium by opening his house and grounds in Ditchling as a sculpture park in 2000.
No longer up Ship Street, 2007 (photo by Carole-Anne White)
After 25 years (and 1 day) there, Window Gallery moved out of the Brighton Lanes area and, after cruising for a couple of years or so, eventually made landfall in Ditchling at exciting new premises at the Turner Dumbrell Workshops. However, before being ready to open, Philip suffered a 12 minute cardiac arrest, after which he surprised himself by regaining consciousness at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, under one of his own pictures that he had signed and titled "Reflecting on Former Glories". While he was recovering, Philip's closest friend and Window Gallery's unicycling handyman and picture framer, Stephen Barker, died suddenly of a stroke, while on a train in Portugal, at the age of 55.
Carole and Philip, therefore, took on the framing tasks between them for the next 3 years, although Carole was struggling with the ever deeper depression from which she had suffered for decades. Tragically, one morning, she took her own life. This has, of course, left Philip abandoned, alone and adrift for the foreseeable future. Therefore, any ships that pass his bow in the night are sternly but kindly requested not only to skim over, but also to take on board some of the information to be found by following this link, with at least the same enthusiasm that they would have for plucking a refugee from an otherwise watery grave. After all, we are all in the same boat. That is, until the Refugee Plucker comes.
RIP Stephen Barker (6 October 1954 - 23 April 2010)
Window Gallery opened at Turner Dumbrell Workshops, Ditchling, 1 May 2010
RIP Carole-Anne White (31 January 1954 - 25 April 2013)