Artist is inspired by Belper’s heritage

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A graduate of one of the UK’s finest art schools is drawing inspiration from Belper’s architectural heritage for a new collection of paintings to go on public display.

Bartholomew ‘Barley’ Beal, aged 23, who graduated with First Class honours from London’s Wimbledon College of Art is spending a year in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site as part of a residency at the University of Derby.

He has been meeting volunteers at North Mill this week as he searches for the most visually interesting sites and characters in the area.

Once completed, Barley’s paintings will be exhibited at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery, between July and October next year. He is also planning to shoot a film of Belper’s community figureheads.

Barley said: “Each painting will be an honest response to the people and history of the area. It will be an exciting challenge to immerse myself and learn the secrets and stories of a place that is new to me.”

Mark Suggitt, Director of the World Heritage Site, said: “We are delighted that it is the subject for this year’s prize and look forward to working with Barley throughout this year.”