Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Key Dates for Swindon Open Studios 2012 announced

'Hay Bales- North Meadow Margaret Sadler

I am really excited and pleased to be able to give the key dates for our Open Studios event in 2012:

May 18th from 7.30pm onwards a Promotional Evening, all those interested in joining Open Studios, or finding out more about the event, are welcome. Venue: Artsite, The Post Modern, Theatre Square, SN1 1QN.
June 19th closing date for entries to Open Studios 2012.
August 1st brochure available in hardcopy.
September 7th Launch Party from 7.30pm at Artsite.
September 8th/9th Open Studios weekend 1
September 15th/16th Open Studios weekend 2

We are hoping to have an exhibition for those interested in March, more details to follow.
There will be a slide show at the Promotional Evening, please send JPegs to swindonopenstudios@hotmail.co.uk as soon as you can, it is good to have a stock of new images for posters etc.
More information can be found on our website:www.swindonopenstudios.org.uk

Thursday, 24 November 2011

To the Manor Reborn starts tonight, BBC 1 9pm

Presented by Penelope Keith and Paul Martin, The Manor Reborn sees a team of historians, experts and volunteers reinterpreting 500-year-old Avebury Manor in Wiltshire, putting the country house in to a national and historic perspective. The house will be restored as an immersive experience - it will be one of only a few National Trust properties open to the public where they can touch, sit on and enjoy all aspects of the house.
And it's just up the road.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Simon McKeown will talk about the Marlborough Bibles 25th November, come and find out more.


at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, Bath Road, Swindon
This Friday the Friends of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery talk series continues with a visit from Simon McKeown, keeper of antique books at Marlborough College.  He is going to talk about the amazing collection of Bibles owned by the college and even bring along some of the collection for us to look at.


Southport Revisited, some gems discovered

Southport sands were a place where I remember rushing to try and find the sea immediately after arriving, and there are many photos to prove it. Later on I learnt to drive on the sands. Last weekend, it was a wander round after walking from Birkdale, I wanted.
There are many  delights to be found, but here are a few:
 This bank on Lord Street has one of the finest Corinthian facades according to the plaque on the right of the front door. Shame HSBC have been allowed to detract from it.
It was formerly Preston Bank and has been wonderfully photographed:http://www.panoramio.com/photo/9285945?source=wapi&referrer=www.panoramio.com

 Some of the wonderful stained glass in Wayfarer's Arcade.
Upper floors of BHS in the dark.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Day 2 the good and the brave spoke, and a marvellous article about Swindon

On Wednesday afternoon, members of the public who had registered their interest in doing so were given time to speak, with the proviso they didn't repeat what others had said.
Jean Saunders spoke first giving a highly illuminating talk about the area, then Mr Wood, Andrew Bennett, Felicity Cobb who talked at length about collecting 18000 out of the 52000 signatures for the petition. Tim French gave a moving presentation about what Coate and it's surroundings means to him, and lastly Adrian Moor talked about traffic and leisure activities conflicting.

Jean has today emailed an article in December 2011's edition of The Oldie page 65 which I thought I'd include:
Unwrecked England

The Richard Jefferies Museum and Landscape, Swindon
Candida Lycett Green

[inset picture of Liddington Hill with caption: Liddington Hill: 'By the time I had reached the summit I had entirely forgotten the petty circumstances and the annoyances of existence' (Richard Jefferies)]

Swindon's Great Western heart is the same as it ever was and the local character of some of the town's centre has stayed intact. For the last few decades however, its anonymous suburbs have sprawled so far that you need to be an orienteer to find your way around the relentless, could-be-anywhere housing develop­ments, industrial estates and clutches of titanic superstores. Vast tracts of farmland as well as woods and copses I knew as a child are now under concrete: whole villages have been swallowed up.
But there is one corner left untouched - the gentle, pastoral landscape which was the inspiration of Swindon’s famous son, Richard Jefferies, one of our greatest country writers and visionaries. 'One day the area will be glorified,' Edward Thomas wrote in his biography of Jef­feries, 'It will be known as Jefferies' Landscape and it will be as Selborne was to Gilbert White.'
If you take the very smallest road off the Coate roundabout you can park under trees beside Coate Water, the set­ting for Jefferies' classic children's book Bevis: The Story of a Boy. 'So we will,' said Bevis, 'we will find a new sea where no one has ever been before. Look! There it is; is it not wonderful?' And it is.
This expansive and gracefully sinuous reservoir was created in the 1820s by the Wilts and Berks Canal Company as a means of topping up the canal. When I went there were dozens of fishermen around its edges, an abandoned 1930s concrete diving board hovering over it, and children flying kites nearby. A new cinder path leads along the familiar hedgeline to Coate Farmhouse where Jefferies was born in 1848 and which is now looked after by Richard Jefferies So­ciety volunteers. Although the adjacent road has now become a dual carriageway, once you are through the front door you feel calm. It is one the nicest museums you could wish for - well loved, cosy and intimate. From the living room there is a view of the mulberry tree mentioned in a poem and the deep shade of the ever­green oak planted by Richard's father. From his study-cum-teenage-bedroom on the attic floor, his simple drop-leaved writing table stands where it always did, by the window which looks onto the orchard and the Sun Inn beyond.
There are letters written by the seven-year-old Richard to his beloved aunt Ellen; photographs of local farm workers squinting against the sun together with the gangly gamekeeper of Burderop Park from whom Jefferies learnt so much; beautiful sketches by his uncle and lots of small oils and watercolours of nearby scenes painted by an early Jefferies groupie. Kate Tryon lived in Massachu­setts and was a keen Thoreau enthusiast, but as soon as she read Jefferies she became obsessed. She visited Coate for twelve consecutive years in the early 1900s, following in her hero's footsteps and illustrating his every literary descrip­tion. The landscape is still magical even though the M4 slices through it a mile or so away. The trees and woods around Day House Farm, along the lane from the Jefferies' smallholding, are just as they were when Tryon painted them. (The farmhouse itself was the home of Jessie Baden, who became Richard's wife: he wrote of their courtship in Greene Ferne Farm). It seems unbeliev­able that despite the large number of brownfield sites in Swindon, Persimmon and Redrow are appealing to build 900 houses here. It will kill Richard Jefferies' landscape stone dead.

To join the Richard Jefferies Society visit the website www.richardjefferiessodety.co.uk or call 01793 783040
Candida Lycett Green's new book Seaside Resorts is now available. , 'If there's a better book to give for Christmas published this autumn, I'd like to see it’: Cressida Connolly, the Spectator.

A Wonderful Opportunity to visit Clevancy this weekend

The Keevil family and Elizabeth Denny will be at the farm to welcome you, Jane Ross will wrap presents,a nd Mary Smith has some lovely home-made refreshments on offer.
Entrance is £3 for one, £5 for two. Bring a friend to visit this exquisitely located farmhouse with one of the best views around.
Opening times are Friday 18th November 6-9pm
Saturday 19th November 10am-5pm
Sunday 20th November 10am-4pm
There will be a range of over 20 different artists and designer makers.
Funda are being raised for Help for Heroes and the local church, St. Lawrence at Hilmarton.
The address is: Cliffansty Farm, Clevancy, Hilmarton, Nr Calne, SN11 8ST

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Day 1 of the 6 day Inquiry into the Proposed Coate Water development

The Inquiry started today at STEAM, you can quietly walk in and out when it's in session, so you don't need to stay all day. Just walk in through the main entrance and turn right and go through the double doors at the end.

This is what Jean Saunders said about the times and detail of what happened today:
You need to know the following:
The Inquiry will be sitting from 9.30am-5pm tomorrow (Wednesday), 10am- 5pm (Thursday) and 9.30am-1pm on Friday.
Next week: Tuesday and Wednesday; 10am-5pm  - unless the timetable changes.
Those of you who have asked to speak are now likely to be heard tomorrow afternoon not later as indicated this morning by the Inspector.
The inspector is not Mr Grace but a chap called Geoffrey Hill who was only appointed last Thursday to conduct the Inquiry.
So far we have been hearing the Council’s case – traffic and landscape matters. The developers will present their evidence after us.
Rob Buckland MP has been given the opportunity to be heard on Friday at 9.30am. If you can make it to STEAM, please try to get along to offer moral support. 

 Lunch break.
 Jean Saunders about to be interviewed by the BBC
 The Appellants.
STEAM is at Fire Fly Avenue, Swindon, SN2 2EY
Tel: 01793 466637   www.swindon.gov.uk/steam
The Swindon Evening Advertiser link:  

Monday, 14 November 2011

Why not visit the Gallery at Coleshill Village Shop?

'Calves 1-6 weeks old' detail, 52''x42'' oil on canvas 2010
The painting, used as an invitation to her exhibition, gives an idea of Minna Steven's style of painting.
The title of the exhibition is 'Paintings in and around Eaton Hastings', and you can find out more about Minna Steven's work by visiting:www.minnastevens.com
The exhibition is being held at The Gallery at Coleshill Village Shop and Tea Room, Old Carpenters Yard, Coleshill, Oxon., SN6 7PT  Tel: 01793 763619
 There is a website listed for the Gallery, but it is not working, more information can be found by looking on Google.
The exhibition runs from 31st October until 4th December from 10.30am-4.30pm Monday - Saturday.
There will be a Closing Tea on the 4th December 2-4.30pm

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Tribal - the exhibition everyone is talking about. For one week only, a unique opportunity to see some amazing artefacts and pictures from a private collection.

I was privileged to see this exhibition as it was being put up on Thursday, in readiness for the opening night on Friday.
The photos do not do the exhibition justice, if possible, do go and see it.
It's open from 11am-4pm at The Post Modern, Theatre Square, Swindon, SN1 1QN until the 19th of November.
Mike will be talking about the collection on Wednesday 16th of November, 6.30pm for 7pm.
 Mike and Paul moving a plinth into position.
 Mike checking the exhibit.
The following photos are of individual exhibits, or general  shots of the exhibits. I will add labels after the talk on Wednesday.

 To find out more about the gallery visit:


Monday, 7 November 2011

Chris Barham, an inspirational and exciting artist in residence in Theatre Square

If you haven't realised there's an artist in residence opposite the Post Modern, now is the time to go and investigate, he's in one of the ex shops, and ready to meet you.
Chris is open between 9am - 5pm for an interactive experience; although he's not going to tell you what to do, there are subtle clues as to how you might be able to interact with his creations.
I won't tell you what I got up to in there, but had great fun, laughed a lot and had quite a sense of achievement that I'd done something new and fun.
I didn't think there was anything to photograph in there yet, but I was wrong.
 Here's a photo of Chris so you know who he is in case there's a crowd in there.
 Here are some objects to be returned.
 Essentially a slide with other distractions.
Another view of the very well made slide.
Chris's details are as follows: www.chrisbarham.net
It's very busy down in Theatre Square at the moment, the extremely successful British Postal museum and Archive exhibition has now been taken down, and will be replaced with Mike Yates' Tribal exhibition which has it's opening night on Friday from 6.30pm. The exhibition runs for a week, so speed is of the essence.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Why didn't I take notes? A Brilliant talk by Denys Hodson made us proud to live in Swindon

Denys Hodson talked last night to the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Friends about the origins of the Swindon Collection of 20th Century art and his role in building it. There was no dozing or snoozing, what he had to say was fascinating, whether it was at which party Desmond Morris met his wife, or the fact a certain artist had to give her talk in a pub because she insisted on smoking throughout her talk.
He went on to discuss some of his particular favourite paintings, and here I will refer to the book on the Swindon Collection (ISBN 1 871853 02 8) available from the Museum shop:
On the front cover, Ivon Hitchens, 'Spring in Eden'
Gillian Ayres 'Florestan' Denys loves because of it's vibrant colours.Page 172
John Bellany's 'Self Portrait with Juliet' because of it's exquisite sadness and wonderful expressions on the faces.Page175
David Bomberg's 'The South East Corner, Jerusalem' because he was stationed there in the war, knows the view and thinks it's beautifully depicted. 'There's nothing wrong with a chocolate box done well' is I think what he said. Page 176
Henry Moore 'Three Woman and a child' Page 185
Tom Phillips 'Play: Here we Exemplify' Page 133 Denys said this was very cleverly done and could not face the accusation of being capable of being painted by a three year old.
Hopefully we will be able to hear  Denys again before long.
Click here to see the photographs taken last night:www.FriendsofSMAG.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Tribal an Exhibition of Tribal and Contemporary Art 11th - 19th November

This exhibition including work by Picasso, Joan Miro, Peter Howson, John Bellamy, Alan Davie, Max Ernst and unknown artists from Africa and the South Pacific is at the Post Modern, Theatre Square, Swindon, SN1 1QN
from the 11th -19th November 11am - 4pm.

There will be a talk about the collection on Wednesday 16th November, 6.30 for 7pm.

This is what Mike and Emma say about their exhibition:
 A work of art has value only in so far as it quivers with reflections of the future.
 André Breton
The works in this exhibition are part of a private collection that has been lovingly assembled
 over the past thirty years. To begin with our emphasis was on tribal art of Africa, but this soon
 spread out to include tribal works from all over the globe. Realising that many early 20th 
century painters and potters had been influenced by tribal art, we began to seek out works 
by more contemporary artists who had also been influenced by African andOceanic art-works.
 Interestingly, many of the artists whose work we collect have been influenced by Surrealism. 
This is perhaps not too surprising when we realize that many of the early Surrealists,
 including AndrĂ© Breton, Tristan Tzara, Max Ernst and Man Ray, also collected tribal art. 
Today we have no real idea as to how many art pieces we now have. We only know that we
 cannot display them all in our home and so we are pleased that others will be able to share
 some of them with us, if only for a short time. One of our favourite quotations comes from
 the late David Kidd, a man who amassed a truly great collection of oriental art. “Having a lot
 of money,” he said, “and using it to buy great pieces of art on the world market – anyone 
can do that. Not having money, but still being able to buy great pieces – that’s fun.” And so 
it is!

A List of the Paintings discussed by Denys Hodson on Friday 4th of November at 7.30pm

 This talk will be held at the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery at 7.30pm.

It is not permissible to reproduce the paintings in the exhibition without paying a fee, I have therefore photographed my glass plate made by Sue Wigmore for the Parallel Lives exhibition held by Artsite at the Post Modern in 2010.
It was her response to the Howard Hodgkin painting, apologies for not having it quite the right way up
Here is a list of paintings in the exhibition:

Julian Trevelyan  The Potteries
L.S. Lowry   Winter in Pendlebury
Augustus John   W.B. Yeats
Sir George Clausen  The Reapers
Lucian Freud   Girl with Fig Leaf
Gwen John   Portrait of a Lady
Leonard McComb  Elizabeth Cooper in her wedding dress
Raymond Mason  Ginette Neveu
Walter Richard Sickert Study for Vernet's. Dieppe
Sir William Rothenstein Barn at Far Oakridge
Mark Lancaster   Cambridge, July 1969
Lisa Milroy   Small Objects
Richard Hamilton  Interior Study (a)
Richard Long   Two Walks
Tom Phillips   Play: Here We Exemplify
Richard Smith   Once
Gillian Ayres   Florestan
Vanessa Bell   Nude with Poppies
John Skeaping   Study (Roe Deer)
Kenneth Martin   The Bed
Duncan Grant   Standing Woman
Ben Nicholson   Composition in Black and White
Michael Ayrton   Roman Window
Maggie Hambling  Descent of the Bull's Head
John Bellany   Self Portrait with Julia
Edward Wadsworth  Bright Intervals
Terry Frost   Grey Red and Black Verticals
Howard Hodgkin  Gramophone
William Turnbull  Mask
David Bomberg   The South-East Corner, Jerusalem
Ivon Hitchens   Spring in Eden
Henry Moore   Three Women and a Child
Cecil Collins   The Sibyl
Graham Sutherland  Landscape with rocks
Stephen Tomlin  Virginia Woolf
Christopher Le Brun  Hyperion
Leon Kossoff   Booking Hall No.6
William Roberts  Study for 'Bank Holiday in the Park'
Hubert Cook   Electric Welder
Jack Smith   Night Sky
I have a glass plate  made by Sue Wigmore for the Parallel Lives exhibition held by Artsite
 at the Post Modern, it gives you a good idea of the strength of the Howard Hodgkin painting