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.