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Hove painter and art tutor dies aged 80
A painter and art tutor who told the 16-year-old Jimmy Page to choose between the guitar and the paintbrush has died aged 80.
Long-time Hove resident Christopher Clairmonte was known for his powerful landscape and still life paintings, portraits and pen and ink drawings.
His most successful body of work came in the period 1970 to 1990 when he lived in the city and depicted |a wide range of its Regency |buildings.
He highlighted the city’s architecture, topography and residents, resulting in many exhibitions, locally, in London and on the international art scene.
One of his most well-known exhibitions, Spirit of Hove, was held at Hove Museum, where his work is in the permanent collection. His taste for the humorous as well as the idiosyncratic can be seen in Family Fun, Brighton, where a sign saying Family Fun is pointing towards a first aid centre on the seafront.
Clairmonte and his ex-wife, fellow artist and former general manager of the Gardner Arts Centre, Norma Binnie, co-founded Brighton Open Studios in 1974.
Visitors would flock to his vast studio on Hove seafront during Brighton Festival .
Ms Binnie said: “It’s a testament to Clairmonte and his fellow pioneering artists that this popular festival event continues today, 38 years after its initial Festival outing with 33 professional artists.”
Students One of his early teaching jobs to supplement his income was at Sutton College of Arts, where a young Jimmy Page was among his students.
When Page failed to turn up to one too many lectures, an exasperated Clairmonte issued an ultimatum – choose between the paintbrush and the guitar.
In October 1984 he was on the scene at the Grand Hotel after it was bombed and drew as the drama was unfolding.
He later sold the painting to the Trafford Gallery in London.
Clairmonte retired to Cyprus nearly 20 years ago, where he died on June 4.