AN EXHIBITION encompassing the life and work of one of East Lancashire’s greatest artists has come home.

Gerard de Rose, famous for his portraits of 1960s and 70s icons, was born and brought up in Carrara Cottage, Oxford Street, Accrington, in 1918.

The son of a Russian immigrant who was a surgeon and professor of music, he attended Accrington School of Art and then went to the Royal College of Art in 1939.

During the Second World War he served in the Royal Engineers and took part in the evacuation of Dunkirk and then returned to the Royal College of Art.

He became a lecturer and celebrated portrait artist of 1960s and 70s stars.

Gerard married his wife Noreen in 1948 and had one son, Theo, who has been instrumental in bringing the exhibition of his work together at Haworth Art Gallery in the town of his dad’s birth.

The exhibition of Gerard’s work is spread over two rooms, one which depicts his life from attending Accrington Art School in 1930s to being elected to the Royal Academy in 1948 and the other displaying some of his fabulous celebrity portraits.

Exhibits include portraits of artists David Hockney and David Oxtoby, plus iconic comedians Morecambe and Wise along with a selection of photographs, news cuttings and memorabilia showing Gerard with the celebrities he painted.

The Morecambe and Wise portraits were framed as a pair and shown at the Royal Academy summer exhibition in 1967 but then went their separate ways.

Luckily, the two owners Billy Stanley (Ernie) and Harpenden Council (Eric) have lent both pieces for the Accrington exhibition.

Eric’s daughter, Gail said: “I am absolutely delighted that Dad and Ernie are to be reunited in this way. As one of the best known double acts it is only right that they should be side by side!”

The exhibition is on until September 24.