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winchcombearchivecollection

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winchcombearchivecollection

Winchcombe Archive Collection at Long Room Gallery The Winchcombe Archive Collection is essentially a private museum and gallery housed in a traditional timber framed and stone built 400 year old merchants house, dedicated to recreating and celebrating aspects of the arts and crafts lifestyle of the Cotswolds in the inter-war years of the 1920s and 1930s. Having at its core a major foundation collection of early studio slipwares made by the renowned potter Michael Cardew and his Winchcombe team, it also acts as a permanent home and venue for the display, study and discussion of this and related art and design of the same period through regular exhibitions and talks. Taking a primarily domestic approach to both its chosen creative media and its display ethos, the Collection seeks to provide ready public access to such furniture, ceramics, wall hung and applied art of its period, displayed in closed cabinets where necessary but majoring on an open room setting approach. The intention is to illustrate to visitors, how such craft made and well designed objects were used in domestic interiors of their period, and through employing as far as possible a hands on approach, to promote a greater appreciation of both the individual items, and the context for which they were originally created. Structuring of exhibitions and shows: Aside from the continuing and rotating display of primarily slipwares of the Cardew School sourced from four private foundation collections, exhibitions are held every six months in May and November relying additionally on outside loans from other participating private collections of wall hung art and other creative media. Diverse shows are thus periodically curated on a wide range of topics chosen thematically and/or chronologically to illustrate the transferability of common aesthetic themes and styles across a wide range of hand made objects. Exhibitions are further enhanced through Saturday teatime talks given by invited experts in their chosen fields, held to give visitors a greater appreciation of the creative processes behind exhibits and enhanced by selective handling sessions. Selling element: To raise funds for the continuing running costs of the Collection and promote current day makers, selling shows are also held in tandem with these six monthly exhibitions, with contemporary ceramics and some art for sale selected to be directly complimentary to the given theme. Similarly, and subject to availability, period art and ceramics are also offered for purchase. Past and present show themes: Exhibition themes to date have focussed on the output of Winchcombe Pottery in the 1920s and 1930s, and more recently the use of brushwork to embellish and decorate the everyday tablewares of Cardew and his team. May 2016 will see a large retrospective tribute to the long career of Cardew’s successor at Winchcombe, Ray Finch, as summer 2016 marks the 80th anniversary of his arrival at the Pottery. Michael had a deep seated love of music and popular regional culture and folk craft, an area in considerable vogue between the wars for both his friends and in the wider artistic community. This aspect of his creativity will be elucidated by a Folk Art themed show this November, with the exhibition and sale of both period and contemporary objects imbued with a folk or naïve aesthetic. Plans for 2017-2018: Subject to the support of private lenders, the Collection intends to host a run of complimentary exhibitions of neo-romantic art of the inter war years primarily in wood engraved and etched media. The artists selected will range from the Cotswolds based FL Griggs (May 2017) through alumni of Goldsmiths College of the 1920s to the etcher and educationalist Robin Tanner (May 2018). The connections of such art with our foundation collection of ceramics range from the primarily geographic to the directly personal, with all broadly imbued with a love of the English Countryside and its lifestyle - notably the Cotswolds - and of its traditional built environment. External curators: We already benefit from the advice and help of retired professionals from the public museums sector, both in the curation of individual shows and in planning and sourcing our future exhibitions. We are also open to approaches from like minded external curators working in similar media for us to host shows here in the medium term (2018-). Future donations: We would be particularly keen to attract future donations and legacies of Cotswolds School and related display and domestic furnishings to complement existing Collection assets. It is the direct experience of our existing collaborators, that objects entrusted to public museums are all too frequently consigned to reserve collections, only rarely to be displayed and thus enjoyed by the general visiting public. We have the principle of accessibility as a core founding ethos, and hope that this is a principal shared by other private individuals who might chose to contribute loved objects from their collections on temporary loan or as permanent donations or legacies in the future. Charitable trust: The medium term intention is to create a permanent charitable trust to be the recipient and guardian of loved objects from private collections, undertaking their periodic display subject to the context of individual exhibitions, and ensuring their accessibility where possible, subject to necessary issues of care and conservation to ensure their enjoyment by future generations. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Related heritage venues: We maintain cordial relations, particularly with Court Barn Guild of Handicraft Museum, Chipping Campden, the Friends of The Wilson, and with the Gordon Russell Trust, Broadway. All have, to a greater or lesser extent, kindly proactively assisted the establishment of the Collection here through Friends mailings and website promotion. This reflects common cause in celebrating a unique period of early Modern Movement craft creativity in the Cotswolds, with our initiative designed in part to fill a significant gap in the coverage of the pottery side of things which, in its time, stood shoulder to shoulder with then contemporary art and sculpture. JANUARY 2016

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. 

Henry Sandon addressing the  reception audience.JPG

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