Respected artist and tutor John (89) dies

Former artist in residence and popular tutor at Alston Hall College John Selby, who has died aged 89.
Former artist in residence and popular tutor at Alston Hall College John Selby, who has died aged 89.

An artist and tutor who, through his gifts, ‘brought colour to every aspect of life’ has died at the age of 89.

John Selby was former artist in residence at Alston Hall College and in her tribute at his funeral at St Lawrence’s Church in Longridge last Wednesday, his former college colleague and staff member Dot Little recalled him with those words.

She added “John’s association with Alston Hall cannot be underestimated – he was, for many years its unofficial Artist in Residence, tutoring monthly topic days and workshops, as well as summer schools and residential four day and weekend courses.

“Sadly Alston Hall has recently closed but it’s hard to overstate the wonderful place it was. It had a special ambience which fitted John’s philosophy – through people attending courses, learning new skills, making friends, it changed lives and people mattered to John.”

Yorkshire born, John Selby trained as a lithographic artist, meeting his wife Sybil at college and moving to Lancashire with their two sons to be near her sister in Lytham. Following rehabilitation after illness affected his sight, he had worked as a sketch artist for Leed’s Lewis’s, in a similar capacity on posters for the Tower Company in Blackpool, and then ran his column The Northern Sketchbook on the Blackpool Gazette.

A decision to go freelance followed private art and evening classes, he organised painting holidays, courses, became an official demonstrator for Winsor & Newton art supplies, and joined Alston Hall through its then principal, Anne Lightfoot.

John and Sybil, who started the Friends of Alston Hall, had made their home at Fingal Nook in Longridge for the past 31 years.