Exhibition in the ArtsTrail’s new home from 4th December 2017 – 7th January 2018.
1 Priory Terrace, Leamington Spa, CV31 1PP.

Poster for the exhibitionLeamington Spa’s ArtsTrail Studios and Gallery will open its first exhibition in its new home at The Old Main Post Office on Monday 4 December at 7.30pm with a major exhibition by renowned local artist Jonathan Hague. Exactly fifty years ago to the day Hague’s friend, John Lennon (with Paul McCartney and Revolution Records), sponsored what turned out to be the artist’s last exhibition in his lifetime at the Royal Institute Galleries in London. The 1967 show included Hague’s iconic painting of the fab four in their Sergeant Pepper costumes.

Hague and Lennon’s connection began in the late fifties when they met at Liverpool College of Art. The ‘two Johns’ as they became known, grew to be close friends supporting each other throughout their college days. Their friendship continued during the early days of the Beatles and the band’s subsequent rise to fame.The individual band members became the subject of a number of Hague’s paintings. Lennon’s kindness towards Hague manifested itself in a number of ways with him sponsoring several one-man exhibitions and later by buying a house in Leamington for his artist friend.

ArtsTrail’s new gallery is a fitting space for Hague’s very large paintings. The show will feature his paintings of the Beatles and others from the original London exhibition. Hague’s personal collection of band memorabilia including letters from John Lennon will also be on display.

Jonathan Hague (1938 – 2015)

Jonathan Hague was a figurative painter specialising in extremely large oil paintings which filled the walls with colour. He was born in Llandudno in 1938.

Jon went to the Liverpool School of Art from 1957 – 1963 where he met and made friends with John Lennon who was in the same class. The two ‘Johns’ saw art college through together.

His last and extremely successful exhibition was in December 1967 at the Royal Institute Gallery, Piccadilly, London – sponsored by John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Revolution. But the paparazzi, the television interviews and general media attention overwhelmed Hague. It became a turning point for the artist who decided he wasn’t good enough.

Hague decided to settle in Leamington Spa, choosing 21 Leam Terrace as his home, and became an art lecturer at Coventry and Birmingham University helping other young artists to develop their talent. Although his art was no longer his core focus, he always maintained a personal studio in each home he ever lived in. He died of Parkinson’s disease and cancer at home in 2015 at the age 76.