People's love for art stands test of lockdown in Sidmouth

Ashleigh Bishop in his gallery

Ashleigh Bishop in his gallery - Credit: Ashleigh Bishop

Growing up in the medieval village of Dunster and son of an artist, it was a safe bet that at some point Ashleigh Bishop would follow a similar path and in 1995 driven by his passion for art he opened his first art gallery in his hometown.

Leaving school in 1990, Ashleigh had always been heavily influenced by his father’s work as an artist and after opening his first gallery he went on to open his second in Lynmouth, north Devon shortly afterwards before his wife Ruth joined the business in 2000. With a mutual love of Sidmouth and the surrounding area, the couple ventured into their third store and the now popular gallery in Fore Street was opened in 2005 and has become a firm favourite with art lovers ever since.

Sidmouth and Exmoor provide the perfect backdrop for the numerous landscapes, seascapes, wildlife, and stunning countryside that features in much of the artwork carried in the three stores. Ashleigh has been keen to keep his eye on the work of some of the country’s leading artists in their field with each gallery carrying works from Edward Hersey, Richard Telford, Michael James Smith, Rozanne Bell and many more.

Still living in Ashleigh’s hometown of Dunster, the couple lead busy lives raising their young family but still make time to visit Sidmouth on a regular basis and despite the dramas of the last year have found that a common interest in art in so many locals has survived the pressures of the pandemic and they are both keen to move forward with some invigorating new stock.

Now into its 16th year the Ashleigh Bishop Gallery in Fore Street has established itself with many who travel some distance to find the right art for their homes and indeed their offices and long may it continue.

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