Tim Blyth of Keys Fine Art Auctioneers looks forward to a sale featuring an artist who spent more than 40 years working in north Norfolk. 

Derek Inwood was an extraordinarily prolific and distinctive painter who for more than the last four decades of his life lived and worked in Sheringham.  

Here he drew inspiration for perhaps his best known work – his warm and characterful seascapes depicting the daily life of Norfolk crab fishermen.  

Eastern Daily Press: Tim Blyth of Keys Auctioneers and ValuersTim Blyth of Keys Auctioneers and Valuers (Image: Keys Auctioneers)

Derek’s colourful and original style sprang from a lifelong commitment to sketching and painting.  

Having secured a Diploma in Design from the Salisbury Art School in 1952, in the late 1950s he travelled to France where he rented a dilapidated, tiny shed on a Parisian rooftop and spent his days sketching and attending life classes at L’Académie de la Grande Chaumière.  

In 1959 he enrolled in Oskar Kokoschka’s ‘School of Vision’ in Saltzburg along with his artist friend Irena Hale. Kokoschka’s teaching to ‘see in colour’ profoundly altered Derek’s approach; from this point on, colour was everything.  

He painted both in oils and, more unusually, oil pastels, and his subjects reflected the places he lived. 

Back in Britain, Derek taught art at Whatcombe House, inspiring and improving the lives of disaffected youth at the innovative educational school in Winterbourne, Dorset.  

Eastern Daily Press: One of Derek's oil paintingsOne of Derek's oil paintings (Image: Keys Auctioneers)

Following the death of his first wife Elsa, Derek married Joan and they moved to Henley-on-Thames, living by the river and painting in a boathouse at the bottom of the garden.  

Eastern Daily Press: A self-portrait by DerekA self-portrait by Derek (Image: Keys Auctioneers)

He often used a punt as a floating studio and his works from this period frequently feature Henley Regatta and rowing. 

During the late 1960s and early 1970s he was greatly involved with the Reading Guild of Artists, winning the Marie Dyson Award for works submitted to the annual show in 1969 and 1973.  

During this period he experimented with abstract mosaic like paintings alongside his other colourful more realistic works.  

He exhibited widely throughout his life with many solo exhibitions, as well as at the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy.  

Eastern Daily Press: 'Lifeboat, Sheringham''Lifeboat, Sheringham' (Image: Keys Auctioneers)

For the last four decades of his life, Derek lived with the cellist Gillian Lubach in a fisherman’s cottage in Sheringham called ‘Allouette’. Gillian, along with their cat Millie, became the muse for numerous paintings. He died in 2012, aged 86. 

A major sale of his works is to take place in Norfolk, when Keys holds a special auction that includes many of his early drawings from his Paris and Salzburg period, along with paintings and oil pastels spanning the rest of his artistic output.  

Eastern Daily Press: 'Red Windbreak, Sheringham''Red Windbreak, Sheringham' (Image: Keys Auctioneers)

In Norfolk he often painted with Leslie Marr and the sale includes paintings by Derek of Leslie and many of Derek by Leslie.  

Other artists’ work available at the auction are by Derek’s artist friends Anthony Hodge, Gilbert Adams, James Bucknall, Irena Hale, his daughter Liz Inwood and his sister Muriel ‘Babs’ Inwood. 

The Derek Inwood Collection Sale takes place on Thursday, April 25 at Keys Fine Art Auctioneers’ Aylsham salerooms and live online. Full details, including an online catalogue, will be available to view at keysauctions.co.uk