artist in Cambridgeshire

'Family Portraits'... an artist at home

Cambridge Weekly News
July 1984

An art teacher from Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge is holding a unique "Family Portraits" exhibition of his work for the Save the Children Fund.

The whole theme of the exhibition by Ted Coney, which will be held at his home at 20 Woollards Lane, Great Shelford, will be based on his family.

It will run from Thursday, July 26, to Saturday, July 28, from 11am to 4pm with admission 40p.

The exhibition, which will be his first, will show his work over the past 15 years. He has chosen to allow people into his home deliberately to show where he works and where his themes often have their roots.

Many of the paintings, which are all in oils, are abstract, and the early ones reflect past generations of Ted Coney's family, from his grandmother to his parents.

Most of his present work is based on his wife Hazel, his daughter Yve, 8, and son Leo, 4. One painting was done especially to celebrate Yve's christening, and another "Happy Families", represents his family as a Happy Families card game on a table.

Another intriguing picture is named "The Doll's House" with the family posed like dolls, rooms flattened on the picture plane and the tiny wooden paintings encapsulated in glass, making them look precious.

Some of the paintings carry the theme of life and death, with two circular canvases depicting abstracts of the Coneys' stillborn child, and Ted Coney's late sister-in-law Christine, who died in 1977. This painting is a kaleidoscope of images, snippets of earlier paintings from happier days in Cornwall.

Another - "Ghosts", records the baptism of the Coneys' first child in 1976 and underlines the artist's fascination with the theme of family and change. Key adults in the picture, the mother and godparents, appear also as babies themselves, their intrusion a reminder of the passing of life.

Ted Coney is working on a portrait of the family seen through some of the objects to be found in their home. He is experimenting with painting on different layers of glass with will eventually be framed together, and has been influenced by his interest in Victorian magic lantern slides.

The present idea is to mount the glasses on three different levels inside a glass-fronted box.

"I have always loved painting and have been teaching full time since I left college," he said. "I paint as a hobby in the evenings - always in the living room - my wife has got used to it".


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