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Late artist’s family discover he had turned home in secret world of myth and legend

‘Lonely’ man turned rental flat into imperfect palace of the ancient world: Late artist’s family discover he had turned home in secret world of myth and legend – as Jarvis Cocker is among fans trying to preserve it

  • Ron Gittins lived in a rented flat which  he transformed into a magical ancient world until his death aged 80
  • The ‘eccentric’ artist’s creation was only discovered by his two sisters after his death in September 2019
  • Each room was based on a type of history that interested him, such as Ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt
  • His supporters, including Jarvis Cocker, now want to buy the flat and preserve his artwork to inspire others

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The family of a ‘lonely’ artist were ‘totally awestruck’ to discover he had secretly transformed his rented flat into a magical world of myth and legend following his death.

‘Eccentric’ artist Ron Gittins, lived in Birkenhead on the Wirral Peninsula in his rented flat of 33 years until he died in September 2019, aged 80.

His tenancy agreement allowed him to ‘decorate the interior of the property to his own taste and the external porch in classical style without the prior written consent of the Landlord’. 

But little did his family know that Ron had taken the words in the tenancy agreement literally, transforming his home into an ‘ornate classical villa’ based on the wonders of Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt

Although Ron was extremely proud of his artwork he generally refused entry to landlords, maintenance staff and any other officials in order to protect the fantasy world he had created for himself.

Even his sisters Pat and Joan were ‘totally awestruck’ by their discovery as he never invited them into his home, and only found out about his colourful creations when emptying the flat of his belongings after he passed.

Ron Gittins was extremely proud of his artwork he generally refused entry to landlords, maintenance staff and any other officials in order to protect the fantasy world he had created for himself

'Eccentric' artist Ron Gittins, lived in Birkenhead on the Wirral Peninsula in his rented flat of 33 years until he died in September 2019, aged 80

‘Eccentric’ artist Ron Gittins, lived in Birkenhead on the Wirral Peninsula in his rented flat of 33 years until he died in September 2019, aged 80

Ron created a minotaur artwork inspired by Ancient Greece, complete with a set of teeth - leaving his family 'awestruck'

Ron created a minotaur artwork inspired by Ancient Greece, complete with a set of teeth – leaving his family ‘awestruck’

Upon his death in September 2019, Ron's family discovered he had created an epic concrete lion fireplace in his living room

Upon his death in September 2019, Ron’s family discovered he had created an epic concrete lion fireplace in his living room

Ron, described by his family as 'flamboyant, based each room on a period of history which interested him

Ron, described by his family as ‘flamboyant, based each room on a period of history which interested him

Pictured from his hallway of Ron's rented flat in Birkenhead, the Wirral. He turned his flat into a place of magic and wonder

Pictured from his hallway of Ron’s rented flat in Birkenhead, the Wirral. He turned his flat into a place of magic and wonder

Ron, who his family described as ‘flamboyant’ and ‘eccentric’, had based each room on a different type of ancient history that interested him, including a room based on Ancient Greece including a minotaur artwork complete with a set of teeth, an epic concrete lion fireplace in his living room and a Roman bread oven in his kitchen.

According to Ron’s Place, a group set up to conserve his art, the fantastical environment he created was’ a representation of his lifelong passions and obsessions’. 

Now his family and his supporters, including the singer Jarvis Cocker, are campaigning to raise the funds in order to buy his old flat and turn it into a place to inspire others

 

 

Martin Wallace, a trustee of Ron’s Place, told the BBC that ‘the immersive nature of this place’ is ‘what makes it so special’.

He said: ‘Almost every time you come here you find something different. It’s only once you walk in and you actually see the scale of what he did here.

‘Everyone’s really amazed’. 

His niece-in-law Claire Jones said that Ron’s family are now trying to raise enough money to buy his flat and preserve his magical kingdom. 

She said: If you come back in a year or twos time, we would hope to either own the flat or own the whole building to be able to inspire maybe children from schools or other problem who have mental health problems to create their own artwork.’

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