Gravesend’s father and son maritime exhibition.

PUBLISHED: 15:33 06 October 2010 | UPDATED: 16:48 20 October 2010

Jack Messam

Jack Messam


A great grandfather whose art career took off after he retired is holding a joint sea-themed exhibition with his son.

Retired publisher Jack Messam, 79, of Cross Lane, Gravesend, has been fascinated with the sea ever since his mother used to take him to the promenade when he was a child.

Much to his surprise, his hobby has turned into a good earner, with this paintings selling all over the world, and his most expensive piece going for £380.

Now his watercolour paintings will be shown alongside his son Neil Messam’s model boats at the What If...? Gallery maritime exhibition in Dartford High Street, from Monday, October 25 until Saturday, 
November 6.

Jack Messam, who has also worked in advertising, said: “I tend to come out of my mind when I paint. I make it up as I go along.

“When I retired I took up painting up as a hobby and they started selling and it has taken off from then.

“It has been great working with my son. It is like a late bonding exercise as when the children were growing up I was working in central London and by the time I got home they were in bed. The exhibition will be very nice for the Messam family.”

He describes his 52-year-old son’s model boats, which can take months to complete, as “museum quality” as he makes them from scratch, meaning “they look as good inside as they do outside”.

Speaking of his favourite subject the sea, Jack Messam said: “I find the sea fascinating. Every wave is different. I have always lived by the sea, being born in Gravesend and now at my age I reminisce about when my mother used to take me to the promenade and I would play on the beach and the mud for hours. We had a great sense of freedom as children, which I think is lost on the younger generations these days.”

Jack Messam, joined the National Maritime Museum art group in Greenwich in 2000 and has since been made its honorary president.

He has sold his paintings to people in Australia, Canada, France and Germany, often with buyers sending him postcards to tell them where they have hung his paintings.

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