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Bringing people together in a common love and appreciation of craft and design

Henry Sandon pot roadshow 27th May 2017

After a Devon clotted cream tea back at the Winchcombe Archive Collection in Queen Anne House, assembled pot lovers were treated to a most unusual group of pots brought along to share with Henry and to get his opinion.  Perhaps the most unusual was a huge Michael Cardew cider jar dating from around 1930.

The lucky owners inherited this from a relation who acquired it free and gratis from Michael via a discard pile in the orchard behind the pottery.  Whilst passionate about form and interested in aesthetics, Cardew primarily wanted to produce pots that ‘did their job’.

Sadly, this particular cider jar suffered in the firing, and a hole in the base meant that it ‘didn’t hold water’ – let alone cider !  This reveals it as a very early example of the form, as inevitably, throwing such a large piece for the first time entails more than an element of trial and error.  We hope to display it in a recreation of a 1930’s interior as part of a planned show for May/June 2018 celebrating the etcher and educationalist Robin Tanner.

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Henry Sandon Talk 27th May 2017

An enthralled audience of fans of Henry Sandon were treated to a delightful recreation of an inter-war childhood given by Henry.  Whilst most people would tend to associate Henry with the countryside in general and Worcester in particular, he is actually a London born cockney who grew up in Soho.

Those who know him will be aware of his natural and unaffected ‘patter’ a born entertainer. This snapshot of his early years filled in quite a few gaps, as Henry was revealed as very much a child of the cinema and of vaudeville.

Using photos raided from his own family album, Henry recreated a lost age of innocence, of street gangs of neighbourhood children and happy japes often including performing dogs owned from time to time by his father – somewhat of a cinematic entrepreneur. The stories went down very well – as evidenced by the photo below of an appreciative audience.

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An English Romance music concert 27th May 2017

A good crowd of 40+ were treated to a lovely programme of English music of the early twentieth century, given as a prelude to a talk by Henry Sandon in Winchcombe Methodist Church. The scratch band were comprised of folk players led by music historian Gwilym Davies complemented by professional cellist Nella Hunkins.

The choice of the programme of music by Grainger, Elgar and Vaughan Williams reflected themes both local and contemporary to the inter war years – a nod to the Pastorally inspired art and craft currently on display at the Winchcombe Archive Collection.  Grainger stayed at nearby Stanway House in 1907-1908 and collected some of the material performed from then residents of Winchcombe Workhouse.

Traditional music and song of the English countryside in general and the Cotswolds in particular is a rich reservoir of material. Some of this was celebrated in a Music from Winchcombeshire concert given during the Winchcombe Festival of Music and Arts.  One performer at the latter concert was Tim Sexton, a Chipping Campden based musician and devoted morris dancer.

Very interestingly, Tim has been researching and performing music from Campden preserved in book form in Edwardian times. The Essex House Song Book was published by CR Ashbee of Guild of Handicraft fame under his Essex House Press imprint.

Our autumn show at the  Winchcombe Archive Collection will have William Morris and the Arts and Crafts in general as its main themes. We hope to have the company of Tim Sexton and some of his folk loving friends to provide an impromptu performance of some of this Ashbee preserved material.

Mary Greensted talk 20th May 2017

We were delighted to welcome back Mary Greensted to the Winchcombe Archive Collection, this time to give a talk on the craft furniture of the Cotswolds produced in the interwar years. Mary is currently pulling together with two associates a biography of Ernest Gimson, and it was the latter that generated perhaps the most interest, notably his design and construction of Stoneywell Cottage in Leicestershire (see contemporary interior image immediately below).

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Created by Gimson for his own use as a summer residence, it is a building (now National Trust owned) that nestles into its landscape, built designedly in harmony with its surroundings. This fascinating image of its original interior is a great object lesson into the aesthetics of the time.  Redolent of the simple life, it is consciously under furnished, a quiet manifesto for rural asceticism.

What fascinates me is its physical manifestation of fundamental tenets of rurally and historically inspired aesthetics.  If in the 1920’s, Cardew was living the country life in Winchcombe, and Sutherland and Drury picturing the rural idyll in their Palmer inspired etchings, then this looks to be the distillation of those ideals into the ‘right sort’ of country habitation in which to live this dream.

Alec Miller talk by Graham Peel 13th May 2017

This evocative image of the sculpture workshop at the Guild of Handicraft, Chipping Campden was one of a host of fascinating pictures used by Graham Peel to illuminate his talk on the career of Alec Miller. Miller was a Guildsman for a number of years, a suitable Campden link echoing the subjects of our art talks the previous Saturday.

Perhaps the predominant theme that came across was that Miller was largely a jobbing sculptor producing work stylistically out of his own time and drawing strongly on medieval aesthetics. Much of the Miller output illustrated by Graham in his fascinating talk was ecclesiastical in flavour.

Where a more personal touch was seen, somewhat in tandem with the spirit of the interwar years contemporary with its creation, is in his sculptures taking his daughter as its chief subject matter.

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Art Day Talks 6th May 2017

A good representative selection of our regulars were treated to two contrasting presentations, one London dominated provided by Jolyon Drury and the other more local to our area by Paul Whitfield. Whilst Jolyon set the arts scene of Goldsmiths and gave a snapshot of his father Paul’s career, Paul W’s talk was more personal to his father’s early days in the Cotswolds, reflecting the diaries of Christopher Whitfield as his main source material.  I would say the predominant flavour of both talks was that of the metropolitan and business culture of Paul D and Christopher W respectively, and the escape that they both sought and found in the countryside of their times.

For Paul Drury and his contemporary, Graham Sutherland, it was the weald of Kent that was the object of their pilgrimages – a reflection of the influence of Samuel Palmer and his circle. The latter in turn had escaped to the rural tranquillity of Shoreham at similar ages.  Christopher, a writer and aesthete was drawn into the business world of his family, obliging regular visits to Birmingham to manage the family firm whilst seeking to achieve artistic independence and a country life in Chipping Campden. The love of the countryside was expressed and celebrated by both through the medium of etchings – one the creator and the other a collector.

Michael Cardew was similarly a serial escapee from the conventional career and lifestyle that his family background and education should have predetermined. One material difference of Cardew from his artistic Goldsmith contemporaries was his choice of total immersion – recreating an increasingly lost craft workshop culture in Winchcombe and – to use modern parlance – living the dream in a seemingly proto-hippy lifestyle in the Cotswolds.

 

 

Henry Sandon talk with English Music Saturday 27th May 2017

An English Romance

We are delighted that Henry Sandon MBE will be joining us again on Saturday 27th May. Reflecting the 1920s and 1930s underlying themes of the show he will be providing an autobiographical audience on his early life growing up in London in between the wars.

Whilst perhaps best known to the general public as an antiques expert from his many appearances on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow Henry has a personal musical background having been a chorister for many years at Worcester Cathedral. In reflection of this, we are providing the audience with a musical introduction to his talk. This will primarily feature orchestrations of English folk song by Percy Grainger complemented by a piece or two for solo cello.

The source of this material is the folklorist and song researcher Gwilym and his wife Carol Davies (pictured below in musical discussion). Gwilym is something of a latter day Cecil Sharp having undertaken a lot of work in making available to the current generation, material collected by Percy Grainger at Winchcombe Workhouse in 1907-1908.

The traditional element of our 27th May concert at Winchcombe Methodist Church will feature the following folk songs with musical accompaniment: Green Bushes, High Germany and Bold Bonny Boy. There will also be an instrumental performance of Shepherd’s Hey and English Country Garden, both much loved Grainger pieces.  Unreserved tickets are now available priced £10 ( please email johnedgeler@gmail.com or telephone 01242 602 319 ).

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Percy Grainger in Winchcombe

Perhaps one of the best known composers in the broad English tradition in the period around the First World War was the Australian born Percy Grainger. Grainger’s music is recognised as incorporating in particular folk tune and rhythm, but what is perhaps less well known is that he was an active collector of material in the English countryside before WW1.

One such trip saw him staying at Stanway House in 1907-1908, the stately home of the Wemyss family just along the Broadway road from Winchcombe.  Gwilym Davies the folk song collector and performer who now lives locally has been researching the Grainger legacy as part of his Arts Council funded Single Gloucester project [ http://www.glostrad.com ]. Interestingly, one particularly important reservoir of Gloucestershire language and lore were the residents of Winchcombe Workhouse, which used to stand in Langley Road, at the back of the Corner Cupboard ph.

Several of these collected songs will feature in a musical performance as part of our An English Romance event which takes place on Saturday 27th May at 2pm in Winchcombe Methodist Church. The event will feature an audience with the much loved BBC tv personality and Roadshow ceramics expert Henry Sandon, who will recount memories from growing up in the inter-war years. To book tickets please email  johnedgeler@gmail.com  or  ring 01242 602 319. 

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