Does anyone know if the character Harry in Dire Straits’ “In the Gallery” was based on an actual artist? If so, who? If not, can you tell me where to find an interview with Knopfler or similar source regarding the composition of the tune?
Remember Mark Knopfler’s side project, a band called the Notting Hillbillies? One of the members of that band was Steve Phillips, and old friend of Knopfler’s.
Steve Phillips’ father, Harry Phillips, was an artist and sculptor in Leeds. I can’t tell you much about Harry or his work, nor can I tell you how good or bad he was. Regardless, Harry Phillips seems to have inspired the song.
I gather that Knopfler thought highly of Phillips’ work, but that Phillips’ art didn’t earn him much money or acclaim in his life. Steve Phillips thought (and Knopfler’s song agrees) that Harry Phillips’ misfortune was that he wasn’t trendy.