About Eleanor Ludgate
Eleanor Ludgate --- Artist
Eleanor's life and career has been linked with Sidmouth since she first came down for a visit in the late 1960s while she was still at Art College in Guildford. Eleanor was immediately drawn to live there and she and her parents moved from Surrey to live in a house in Knowle Drive soon after this.
Eleanor was inspired by the wonderful diversity of the wildflowers that grew in Devon and started painting these together with some of the butterflies and insects she observed with them. Her paintings were soon produced as greetings cards by several well known card companies and Eleanor also exhibited her original watercolours at local Art Society exhibitions, craft fairs etc.
Soon her work became noticed by galleries including several in London as well as the West Country and she was well on her way to making a living from her paintings. However bringing up two children made it a challenge between being a mother and an artist!
Eleanor expanded her range to painting birds and then wildlife and her work was beginning to sell worldwide. After working for greetings card companies for many years Eleanor decided to start up her own greetings card business in 1987 called Ludgate Studio Cards which was a huge success and Eleanor still continues to expand her range of beautiful cards.
She was by then also painting many lovely local views and needed a shop to sell them in, so in 1989 Eleanor took the bold step of opening her own Ludgate Gallery in Old Fore Street in Sidmouth where she had her desk and painted many pictures sitting in the window where people could watch her at work.
The gallery was a tremendous success, so much so that Eleanor soon expanded into the empty shop next door to give her more space. Eleanor’s views of Sidmouth were always very popular and she was proud to have them featured in the 1999 Sidmouth Town Guide.
However after ten years working almost every day, as she very rarely shut the shop except on Christmas days. Eleanor felt that she needed a break and time to experiment with her art. So she sold her precious gallery to a friend who intended keeping it going and also the picture framing side of the business. Feeling secure in the knowledge of this, Eleanor and her husband Barry moved to France and bought an old farmhouse in need of renovation in Provence and a lovely new gallery in the beautiful village of Roussillon in the Luberon. It was therefore a terrible shock and tragedy that the person Eleanor had entrusted her precious Sidmouth gallery to suddenly closed it soon after she had moved to Provence.
For eight years Eleanor immersed herself painting the wildflowers and insects and wonderful scenery of Provence and also continuing to run her new gallery where she also painted her watercolours. Life was a lot less rushed out there especially as everything closed for the winter which gave Eleanor plenty of time at home in her studio to concentrate on producing her stunning oil paintings. The gallery was a success and her paintings were soon flying off to destinations all over the world especially America.
In 2008 Eleanor and Barry decided to move back to Devon and hunted for a new gallery and home. Unfortunately at that time there was nothing suitable in Sidmouth, however a large gallery in Chagford on Dartmoor was on the market and as Eleanor had known it for many years and even sold some of her paintings in there during the 1980s, they settled in Chagford.
Eleanor has now been running her "Three Hares Gallery" in Chagford since then. During that time has produced three books. The first one "Kitty's Tale" is a beautifully illustrated true story about the cat family she brought back with her from France. The second "The Three Hares" is an illustrated book of Eleanor's poems. And the third "The Beauty of Butterflies" is a wonderful book full of Eleanor's butterfly paintings.
Eleanor has also created the "Three Hares Trail" which takes people on an adventure to discover the 17 churches in Devon with the mythical three hares symbol in them. This is extremely popular with locals and visitors to Devon and people even come on holiday to do the trail!
Eleanors work is often described as having a magical quality and her gallery in Chagford as being one of the most beautiful they have ever seen.
I am sure her new gallery in Sidmouth which is owned by her son Shane and his partner Melissa will be a beautiful show space for Eleanor's stunning paintings and also sculptures, ceramics, bronzes etc by many local and famous artists which will be on display there.
“I am so grateful to everyone who during my long career as an artist has supported and encouraged me by loving my work and buying my paintings.
I am always grateful that I have been able to make a living out of doing something that I love and I am so thrilled that my son Shane & Melissa, his partner, have enough faith in my artwork that they are opening a new Ludgate Gallery in Sidmouth right next door to where I spent 10 years painting in the window of my previous gallery, it was certainly an amazing time.
Sidmouth has been such a huge part of my life having lived there for over 30 years and I am thrilled to be a part of it once again.