The Lockdown Door at the Julie Colclough Gallery on Chester’s Watergate Row is making many visitors do a double-take. The eyes that follow you around the room belong to artist and gallery owner Julie, her husband David and their chocolate cocker spaniel Lexie. During the months of lockdown Julie was inspired to paint this unique ‘doortrait’ on a simple flat door, using a style known as ‘trompe l’oeil' or ‘fool the eye’. The painting is so life-like, it’s hard to believe this was formerly just two planks of wood.
Hidden in the background are documents charting the story of the building, dating from 1730, and the many residents who lived here on Watergate Row, including many Colecloughs (the oldest being Daniel Coleclough in 1766).
Reference is made to the ancient inscription on neighbouring God’s Providence House where the Row fascia was inscribed in thanks for deliverance from the plague of 1647.
“My husband David suggested I paint it after we watched the TV series ‘A House in Time, which told the story of it’s residents over a century or more” says Julie. “I have always loved painting crumbly old doors, they are so full of character, and as an artist & illustrator I enjoy hiding hints of stories and layers of history within my paintings”.
During her long career Julie has been commissioned to create many bespoke paintings for clients around the world, but this one is staying in Chester. So next time you’re exploring the unique quirky shops along Chester’s famous Rows, keep a look out for this fascinating door among the paintings at the Julie Colclough Gallery, 59 Watergate Row South.