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winchcombearchivecollection

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

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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

PAUL WHITFIELD

This short blog is by way of a tribute to Paul Whitfield, some of whose collection of post war art graces our current Mid Century Romanticism exhibition. Paul, who sadly died in May 2018, was the son of the poet and writer Christopher Whitfield, an early friend of Michael Cardew in the 1920s, and subsequent stalwart supporter of the romantic artist and etcher F L Griggs, like Christopher a Chipping Campden resident.

The Whitfield family’s background was in industry, but Paul was to follow in his father’s footsteps in actively garnering a lovely collection of art and artefacts. His senior management role at the top four London auction houses was clearly a significant factor in assisting his hobby, however his unerring aesthetic sense and eye for quality and beauty were equally as important.

His auctioneering career had started with Christies in 1965, working in a variety of fields including furniture, carpets, bronzes, sculpture and a wide range of decorative objects. At Christies where he was ultimately Managing Director, he was most notably responsible in establishing their South Kensington rooms.  He worked subsequently for Bonhams, Sothebys and Phillips, employing an encyclopedial appreciation of the beautiful, also reflected in his own collections of art and objects.

Our paths crossed relatively recently around three or four years ago, in collaborations on two exhibitions at our Archive Trust of Neo-Romantic etchings of the 19th and early 20th centuries. We had planned to subsequently put together a Neo-Romantic art show at Court Barn Museum, to illustrate what became of the Romantic taste in art after WW2. His untimely passing led me to curate our current show as a small tribute to his urbane and erudite taste, and to celebrate a kind and generous man whom I admired greatly.

Summer Show visits

We will be giving priority to prebooked appointments from our long standing supporters but also welcome new visitors to the Archive Trust here in Winchcombe subject to some advance notice on the day.  Please : telephone 01242 602 319 ; text 07791 782 243 ; or email  johnedgeler@gmail.com   to book an appointment

All visitors will be asked to use hand sanitiser on entry

Single use gloves will be provided for those wishing to inspect items for sale

The curator will wear a face mask as required

Only single household groups at any one time please

Visitors will have unique access during their stay

Show entry is free but donations to our Charitable Trust are welcomed

 

Mid Century Romanticism from 4th July 2020

Please see following post for show arrangements

A Cotswolds Spring in Photographs

During the current lockdown I have been revelling in  a particularly glorious spring here in Winchcombe.  A selection of images are available through clicking on this pdf link:

A Cotswolds Spring in Photographs

Scandinavian Style 2

Sitting on a contemporary Danish teak tray, this small group of tableware and cutlery are typical of Scandi homewares very popular here in the 1960s. The stonewares were made the Finnish firm Arabia and are in their Ruska design, whilst the cutlery is by the Swedish company Gense and are from their Focus De Luxe range originally designed by Folke Arstrom in 1955.

Ruska made a full range of tablewares for the breakfast, tea and dining table. When originally sold, they were fairly expensively priced and I recall buying pieces for my eldest sister’s wedding in 1968 – I couldnt afford many! Ironically, a generation on, sets frequently turn up modestly priced in charity shops – as did our own. Gense were and remain top quality makers, their Focus De Luxe range proving award winning, and indeed was named a design classic of the period by a leading US newspaper.

CONDIMENT

They both display well with Danish made teak wood wares, this condiments set with smoked glass oil and vinegar containers and mixing bowl being a good quality example. Russells were not the only UK manufacturer to be influenced by Scandi design: the electric mantelpiece clock below made by Smiths is a classic example.

SMITHS

Scandinavian Style 1

The image above of a Danish condiments set paired with a 1960s Smiths clock sitting on a Gordon Russell of Broadway sideboard in teak, laurel and beech encapsulates well one of the significant themes of our 2020 show. Set against a period Heal’s Teazel curtain designed by Jane Daniels, the group exemplifies the popularity and impact of Scandi style in the British interiors scene of the 50s and 60s.

As a general rule, Scandinavia did not go through as pervasive a period of industrialised manufacture as the UK in the 19th century, and traditions of hand making and original craft infused design remained strong there into the 20th century. Additionally, whilst parts were badly affected by the Nazi scourge, modern movement design in craft quality making remained proactive in the 50s at a time when our own homeland was still gripped by rationing and post WW2 rebuilding.

RUSSELL SIDEBOARD

For whatever reason, fresh looking, stylish and quality made Scandi interior furnishings became very popular in Britain, establishing a trend that influenced the production of traditional furniture firms like Russells and Gibbs. This may be evidenced by the photos of a 60s Gordon Russell sideboard (above) and chest of drawers (below), the latter paired with John Piper’s Stones of Bath.

SPUTNIC 3

Susan Bosence

The work of post WW2 Devon based textile designer Susan Bosence also features in our 2020 displays. I became aware of Bosence through working with the family of Robin and Heather Tanner, as Heather used her fabrics both for curtaining at their family home, Old Chapel Field, and in Heather’s own clothes (Jagged Stripe below).

The Tanner connection is partly through the Painswick based 1930s textile designers Barron and Larcher. B&L were notable for their use of hand carved woodblocks for printing on materials, with at times quite elaborate designs employing many natural dye stuffs.

Bosence knew Phyllis Baron personally immediately after WW2, and was influenced by her in her continued use of similar organic colours. However her designs were somewhat simpler in style, with plain repeat motifs and a restrained range of colours. Bosence taught at Dartington, Fanham and Camberwell in the 1970s, producing an important technical title, Hand Block Printing and Resist Dyeing in 1985.

SUSAN BOSENCE 2

John Piper

The artist John Piper whose Stones of Bath textile will be displayed in our 2020 show was interesting for his transition from the creator of individual works to art and design intended for reproduction, working in tandem with industry. His prints, often featuring architectural detail, are perhaps better known than his work for large textile firms such as Arthur Sanderson (above) and David Whitehead (below).

PIPER WHITEHEAD 2

Work for Sandersons often featured in a series of different colourways, a reflection of their use in a variety of interiors. Some additionally had an almost architectural detail in their design, notably Arundel (below) which has a distinctive look akin to stained glass windows.

PIPER SANDERSONS

Piper’s fabric designs, whilst only a form of reproduction, have become collectable in their own right. This a reflection of the production values of the companies with whom he worked, although the condition and size of the material and the rarity of a particular design are inevitably considerations.

Tibor Reich

Another overseas artist designer to feature in our Summer exhibition, Tibor Reich was a Hungarian jewish refugee who came to England to escape Nazi persecution. Reich worked initially in Haute Couture although wartime rationing led him to transfer his skills to interior textiles that were not so restricted.

Settling ultimately in the outskirts of Stratford on Avon just after WW2, Reich subsequently attracted high profile commissions to design for the Festival of Britain (1951), Coventry Cathedral (1960) and subsequently the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford (1964). He was one of a group of designers that helped transform the interior aesthetics in British homes, featuring a new and radiant use of colour.

His textiles are particularly distinctive, featuring ‘deep texture’ materials and a rich, almost impasto technique of colour printing, which reflected the method of weaving of the materials employed . He also designed for industry, notably his Tigo-ware developed in tandem with Bournes of Denby.

tigoware

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