A PENSIONER has just published his third book – aged 86.

Kenneth Shepherd, of Meadway, Maldon, has written To Be, Or Not To Be, a book about a group of unknown artists, who could have become celebrated painters.

He said: “These artists were unable to reach their potential.

“Some died young during the war when they were expected to make great art, and others went on to do other things.

“I have dedicated each chapter to an individual artist’s story.”

Mr Shepherd retired from his job as a shoe shop manager in London’s Carnaby Street when he was 65, and later decided to study for a degree through the Open University. He graduated in humanities, specialising in art and art history.

Mr Shepherd’s fascination with writing books about art came after he went searching for books specifically about artists who paint town scenes.

He said: “I started by looking for books about art history.

“I wanted to to learn more about townscapes as opposed to landscape painters, but I could not find one.

“My first book related to that.

“I did not have any plans of publishing the book in mind, but my niece told me to see if I could do it and to my surprise, they did.”

Austin Macauley published his first book and he has been working with them ever since.

Sadly, he had to overcome the loss of wife Pamela before publishing his third book.

Mr Shepherd had been her carer for some time before she went into a home, after years of suffering from dementia.

He said: “We met when I moved to Maldon after I retired.

“I had been married before we met, but we had some amazing times together, and it is really unfortunate she is no longer here.”

To Be Or Not To Be is out now at good bookshops.