A NAILSWORTH artist is holding his first public exhibition at the age of 80, thanks to his grandchildren.

John Pilston, who lives at Longfords Mill, graduated from Manchester College of Art in 1959 and has painted ever since. However, the exhibition, which runs at the Lansdown Gallery in Stroud from Thursday, October 5 to Sunday, October 15, is the first time he has shown his work publicly.

The retrospective, which looks back at nearly 60 years’ work and includes works in a variety of media, has been instigated by two of his grandchildren.

Rachael Pilston, a London-based textile artist, said: “As artists ourselves, we wanted to pay tribute to the inspiration and encouragement that Grandad has given us.

“Far more than a Sunday painter, he is very creative and a great artist, whose paintings have become more and more contemporary over the years.”

Ruth Pilston, who works in a contemporary art gallery in London, said: “Since the 1950s, Grandad has been painting work that has been kept privately in the family but should have been seen in galleries and fine art institutions.

“We wanted to take the opportunity of celebrating his 80th birthday to showcase his work.”

Before retiring, John Pilston worked for 40 years as an arts and crafts teacher at schools in Hampshire and the Cotswolds. He met his wife Frances at art college, where she studied fashion design. The couple have three sons who all work in the arts and media, as well as seven grandchildren.

John Pilston said: “I never expected this kind of attention. The exhibition has taken me by surprise, but it’s exciting, and I’m very proud of what Rachael and Ruth have achieved.”