British painter, designer, and illustrator, born in Auckland, New Zealand, the son of a wealthy businessman. He settled in London in 1938 and served in the RAF during the Second World War. Initially he worked as a graphic designer and then branched out into painting. He had no formal artistic training. Kelly's most characteristic pictures are views of country houses that often have an enigmatic, slightly *Surrealistic air.
His obituary in The Times comments that ‘His good looks, charm and easy manner made him a welcome dinner table guest as well as a recorder of the architectural nuances of the houses to which he was invited’. In 1982 he painted murals at Castle Howard, Yorkshire, funded by the success of the television series Brideshead Revisited, largely filmed there. Apart from paintings his work included stage design and book illustrations, notably for Herbert *Read's only novel The Green Child (1945; the book was originally published in 1935). Read returned the compliment by writing the introduction to Paintings by Felix Kelly (1946).
Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)