A MAJOR retrospective art exhibition celebrating a Bridport painter and 'king of signwriters' is being held this summer.

The talents of Bridport's master sign painter George Biles will be on display during August across several local venues.

Mr Biles, who was born in 1900 and died in 1987, was a highly talented signwriter, pictorial painter and calligrapher who lived in Bridport throughout his life. 

He painted Palmers Brewery's distinctive pub signs for most of the 20th century.

(Image: By kind permission Ken Allen) He was also responsible for the old 'Spirit of Bridport' welcome sign on East Road.

Mr Biles had a wide range of other customers in Bridport and all over the south west during his 75-year-long illustrious painting career.

The George Biles Project is being delivered by Bridport Town Council working with Palmers Brewery and local signwriter Jemma Thompson.

(Image: Supplied)

Work to research, record and exhibit his works has been made possible with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund which awarded the town council a grant of £9,550 to help conserve and celebrate the artworks.

Thanks to the National Lottery, the project has digitised the collection of pictorial pub signs held by Palmers Brewery, supported two signwriting workshops for 12 people in the town and supported the public exhibition of Mr Biles' works this summer.

Tireless Mr Biles, who had pursued his career since he was a 14-year-old apprentice, was said to be working to within days of his death.

A spokesperson for the exhibition organisers said: "This is an opportunity to travel back in time to experience our recreation of his studio. There will be brushwork workshops and live demonstrations to explore the benefits and simple pleasures of having an artistic career."

The Royal British Legion Hall in Victoria Grove will host a re-creation of his studio with a selection of pictorial pub signs and other images of Mr Biles at work in Bridport.

Bridport Arts Centre will be displaying a selection of pantomime screens and backdrops painted by the artist and Bridport Museum will display the original 'Spirit of Bridport' town sign.

The three exhibition venues will be open from August 1 to August 29 between 10am and 4pm except Sundays and Mondays.

The Lord Nelson pub will showcase more of Palmers pub signs in its skittle alley during pub opening hours.

For more information visit www.bridport-tc.gov.uk/george-biles-lottery-project/ or contact: enquiries@bridport-tc.gov.uk