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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

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 ).

Gwilym and Carol.jpg

 

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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

Creative Writers

It was discovering this excellent title Revelation to Revolution when visiting Pallant House Gallery in Chichester last summer to see their Christopher Wood exhibition that created the germ of an idea for what has become this Summer’s Pastoral Art show. I think what particularly fascinated me was discovering how interconnected several of my creative heroes were,  all associated to a greater or lesser extent with Goldsmiths College in the 1920s. I am delighted that Jolyon is able to join us on Saturday 6th May to speak and do a book signing.

This led to my approaching Paul Whitfield, Christopher’s son, to see if we could impose on him to talk about his father, for whom in another coincidence of timing, 2017 marks the 5oth anniversary of his passing.  Paul’s 2012 publication of his father’s very interesting and evocative diaries is shown below and will be available for purchase at the show.

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This Chipping Campden connection suggested our also featuring in the show, the former Ashbee Guildsman and Sculptor Alec Miller, whose long career was celebrated in Graham Peel’s recently published magnum opus available at his talk on 13th May.

book cover.jpg

Miller’s name also came up in a conversation with an Archive Collection visitor last year, whose family were at one time associated with the Ashbee Guild, and we hope to have on loan two sculptural maquettes in their personal collection.

Good Citizen’s Furniture: from the Barnsley’s to Gordon Russell and beyond

Saturday 20th May 2017

(2.45 for 3.00pm)

‘Good citizen’s furniture’, the term coined by William Morris in 1882, started a strand that ran through the Arts and Crafts Movement and beyond. It was largely developed by Ernest and Sidney Barnsley working at Pinbury, near Sapperton from 1894 and continued by others including Ernest Gimson and Gordon Russell.

This talk will look at the furniture being produced by these individuals, the ideas that lay behind it and they way in which aspects of ‘good citizen’s furniture’ still influences designers and makers today.

Mary Greensted

Alec Miller – Carver Guildsman Sculptor

Saturday 13th May 2017

(2.45 for 3.00pm)

Alec was born in 1879 in Glasgow into a poor family living in a two-roomed tenement. He left school aged 12 and served a 7 year apprenticeship in a woodcarving studio run by Mrs Mackay, qualifying as a journeyman in 1898.  From about 1895 until 1902 he attended drawing and art classes at evenings and weekends, mostly at the Glasgow School of Art.

In 1902, at the suggestion of Mrs Mackay, he applied for a position in  the Guild of Handicraft run by CR Ashbee and joined it as it moved from Whitechapel to Chipping Campden. Here he began to do a great deal of ecclesiastical work resulting from Ashbee’s work as an Architect’ as well as other work, including modelling figures for casting by the silversmiths. After the Guild closed in 1908 he took over the Guild carving workshop and ran it as an independent business until he emigrated in 1939.

In his talk Graham will give an overview of Miller’s years in Campden and the ethos of his workshop, illustrated by examples of some of his best known work. We hope to have on display and for discussion during Graham’s talk, some examples of Miller’s output.

Graham Peel

alec miller.jpg

From Birmingham to Campden 1925 to 1940

Saturday 6th May 2017

(circa 3.00pm)

In his illustrated talk, Paul Whitfield tells the story behind his father’s Diaries, kept in Campden from the mid-20s to the start of the War, which were published in Paul’s edition of 2012 entitled ‘A World of My Own’.

Christopher Whitfield came to Campden as a young man with his books, his cat and a car. He spent his next twenty bachelor years until 1942 living life to the full in a Campden that is now largely vanished, went on to publish a History of the town (1958) and was created F.S.A. for this and other local history achievements.  He died in 1967.

Paul will bring with him copies of the Diaries for sale, priced at £10 (please see separate book blog).

Paul Whitfield

Paul Drury and the revival of pastoral etching

Saturday 6th May 2017  

(circa 2.00pm)

In this illustrated presentation I am going to talk about Paul Drury the print maker and the man, about the influence of his father the sculptor Alfred Drury RA, about his lifelong Goldsmiths friends including Graham Sutherland, their pastoral etching development stimulated by Samuel Palmer, mentored by F L M Griggs and how Paul’s and the group’s work evolved towards abstraction whilst still maintaining the pastoral tradition.

There are a number of underlying themes running through this talk and my book  Revelation to Revolution which will be available at the venue– the revival of pastoral printmaking following Samuel Palmer – the perfection of the hand-drawn, hand-printed etching – the pivotal role that Paul Drury had within the group that I will refer to as the (Goldsmiths’) Class of (19)21 – the developing conflict between representational and abstract art – and last but certainly not least the very close personal relationships that enabled that school of art at Goldsmiths College to be a unique learning experience under the benign governance of Clive Gardiner that cemented the individual skills in the group and which paved the way for pioneering design and technique for which Goldsmiths is still recognised to this day.

Jolyon Drury MA

MAY 2017 TALKS

To complement and expand upon our Pastoral Art and Craft show this summer we are delighted to offer the following Saturday afternoon talks which will commence at 3pm (2.00 for 2.30pm on 27th May) :

6th May : Art Day : Presentations by two leading experts on Neo-Pastoral art of the 1920s; with Jolyon Drury (Paul’s son) exploring the London and Goldsmiths College scene and Paul Whitfield recreating the arts environment of Chipping Campden. Paul’s antecedants were friends and supporters of FL Griggs in the 1920s and 1930s.

13th May : Sculpture : We are delighted to welcome Graham Peel, the leading expert and writer on Alec Miller the Campden based carver and sculptor of the period some of whose work will be on exhibition. Graham will also be signing his recent book.

20th May : Furniture : We are very pleased to have the company again of Mary Greensted the leading commentator on Cotswolds Arts and Crafts. Her presentation will range from the Barnsleys to Gordon Russell and beyond.

27th May : Pottery : Spring at the Winchcombe Archive Collection would not be the same without an audience with the irrepressible Henry Sandon who will also be staying for tea.

All talks will be accompanied by tea and home made cake followed by a handling or discussion session. Advance booking strongly recommended (01242 602 319).

Oliver Watson Mary Greensted and Helen Brown discuss an early Winchcombe plate   IMG_9633 (2).jpg

The icing on the cake

On returning the Punch and Judy set to Rodmarton we were also able to catch up with John Biddulph, now in day to day charge of the estate. John had previously located the original booth in the attic of the main house.

He very kindly had the set to hand when we visited and in tandem with Phil Collins we were able to reassemble it to check on its state of preservation. For a set not in active use for 70+ years this is surprisingly good.

The photo speaks for itself . Phil reckons that WS must have performed seated on a stool. The backgrounds include a ‘fly out’ cottage, possibly for an element of the performance featuring just P & J.  Included in the experience was a ‘time team moment’ when John spotted and pointed out to me a maker’s label in Simmond’s hand attached to the inside of the frame and dated 1921.

John believes that the set was purchased from WS in the early 1930s for use in estate performances. The 1921 making date implies that the set was made by William for his own use in the 1920s. We have discussed with John the prospect of performances in the Ballroom of Rodmarton as a revival in some measure of the community activities there in the 1930s, and a local school’s Punch & Judy show looks a distinct possibility.

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