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



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

William Newland

Our forthcoming Summer show will feature pottery made by William Newland, his wife Margaret Hine and their associate Nicholas Vergette, all kindly lent by the Newland family. William was born in New Zealand but following national service during WW2 some of it served in the Mediterranean, he was put through art college in London to assist his professional training.

The Newland group, sometimes referred to as the Picassoettes, rose to prominence through the coffee bar culture of the 50s and 60s in London and elsewhere, to which they contributed much decorative tiles and ceramics. Their sunny use of colour and blending with rural and Med themes were very distinctive, quoting both from a quirky take on English folk culture with aesthetics derived from the classical.

Newland also taught in London colleges, perhaps one of his most famous disciples being James Tower, a gouache by whom is shown below. All the group reflected an overiding trend in the use of brighter colours in home furnishings of the 50s & 60s, seen also in period textiles also on display at our show (see following blogs on Reich and Piper).


Mid Century Romanticism 6: The Neo-Ruralists in war and peace

The spikey dreaminess of John Craxton’s 1943 work above evidences contrasting emotions illuminated by Palmeresque hills and sickle moon in the background. Craxton and his fellow gay artist, John Minton, for me the leading lights of the post war ruralist scene, certainly showed at least in their early work that Palmer was not forgotten as is evidenced below in the delightful 1944 work by Minton, Landscape with harvester resting.

John Minton - Palmeresque

Motifs beloved of their early hero are self evident, with themes of harvest and nature, although the monochrome palette employed is not without incipient melancholy, and the whole with overtones of abstraction. We hope to have loaned examples of Craxton’s work in our 2020 show as well as Minton, Keith Vaughan and others. This phase of introspection did not persist for ever, and the late 1940s and 1950s saw a warming of their palette, and a more positive Mediterranean light appear as in this 1947 Craxton work.

Craxton Greece

This escape to a foreign idyll from a war ravaged and bombed home landscape and a time of post war rationing was a surprising pervasive theme of the period, expressed in craft as well as art of the 5os and 60s.  We hope that our Mid Century Romanticism show for next May/June will capture in some small way, something of these themes.

Mid Century Romanticism 5: Pastoralist Art of the 20s and 30s

In shows at the Archive Collection in 2017 and 2018 we traced something of the origins and development of the Pastoral tradition in British art through exhibitions of the school of Samuel Palmer, the Palmeresque early print output of Graham Sutherland and the ruralist etchings of Robin Tanner. The Village (above), a 1925 etching by Sutherland typical of the period,  is enthused with a traditionalist vision of the English (in this case Kentish) rural idyll.

Sutherland was not alone in espousing this aesthetic, and his fellow Goldsmiths College, London graduate, Paul Drury, also reflected in his output a somewhat ‘rose tinted’ vision of rural life. This did not reflect reality in the countryside of the period, afflicted by the Great Depression and rural decay, and was in this way a romantic vision of country escapism.

In significant contrast is Sutherland’s etching of 1930, Pastoral (below) which has more than a touch of the ‘blasted heath’ in its tortured inspiration. Some commentators believe that this change of spirit was a reflection of adverse personal circumstance with the loss of his only child during his wife’s pregnancy. Financial realities would also have been affecting Sutherland’s mood, with the Wall Street Crash of 1929 greatly diminishing the print market both here and the important US market.


Whatever the reason for this artistic step change, it was also part of a move towards increasing abstraction in Sutherland’s output and the wider art market of the 1930s. And inevitably, as emotional beings, artists could not help but be influenced by outside events both personal and in society in general, as may be seen in the linked blog on the Neo-Ruralists that follows.

Mid Century Romanticism : 4 Artistic Design for Advertising


Alongside the comparative explosion of creativity in artistic book design (see earlier blog) was the appearance of well printed commercially originated art sponsored by the Oil major, Shell, and others. Working with a number of top artists of the 50s and 60s such as Rowland Hilder (above – Kent) they produced a number of educational as well as promotional work for schools, such as their large and wall hung Key to the Countryside posters, some of which will be on display at the Archive Collection in 2020. These featured commissioned, somewhat romanticised, landscapes of the County concerned.


Also included were a paragraph or two of background information on the County, together with a map with key, and it appears that the posters were circulated around schools by the Local Education Authority concerned.  The quailty of reproduction suggests that they were lithographically printed with a good colour accuracy, and were charming in their detail, including objects of local interest such as in this image of Inverness-Shire by Leonard Rosoman.


Mid Century Romanticism : 3 Ceramics

This quite charming sculptural work of the period by William Newland is typical of the work of William and his circle of creative friends which included Margaret Hine (see immediately below), later his wife. A group of these ceramics of the 50s and 60s to be very kindly lent by the family, will feature in our 2020 exhibition.


Newland’s circle rose to strong artistic prominence in the colourful and modernistic coffee bar society of the time, eclipsing the predominantly brown pots and ‘Sung Standard’ of the Leachian tradition. Leach somewhat vituperatively nicknamed the group ‘the Picassoettes’ in a reference to the colourful works produced by Pablo at Vallauris. So fashionable were the Newland coterie that they were chosen in preference to those of the Asian born Bernard in a major British design promotional show of the time that travelled to the USA.

William is also interesting for his espousal of classical and Mediterranean themes in his output, again evocative of the New Look in design of the period. A typical example is shown below.


Mid Century Romanticism : 2 Book design

The post WW2 period saw both a democratisation of overseas (air) travel, and perhaps in hand with this, an internationalisation in design, cuisine and taste generally. Probably the most famous cookery writer of the day, Elizabeth David, was the leading standard bearer for the cookery and recipes of the continent and the Mediterranean. It is notable that the designer chosen to illustrate her books was the neo-romatic artist, John Minton. Probably his best known book design features above.

Minton was one of a group of metropolitan based artists, several of whom were homosexual, who emerged from a briefly tortured aesthetic in their art during the war (see later art blog) to the sunlit uplands of the Mediterranean. Minton is particularly interesting for me in his prolific contribution to book design in the late 1940s and 1950s which represented a democratisation of design for the wider public.

Minton will feature in a talk on post war book design to take place here in June 2020, to be given by Professor Martin Salisbury, who teaches at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge and has two recent publications on the subject. Also under consideration will be a peer of Minton, John Craxton, who was the subject of a major show the other year at Pallant House, Chichester.  Probably his best known book design, for a travel book by Patrick Leigh-Fermour, is shown below. Art by both Minton and Craxton will feature in 2020.

a time of gifts

Mid Century Romanticism : 1 Textiles

This is the first in a short series of blogs about our main show for 2020, Mid Century Romanticism (1930-1970) which looks at what happened to the 1930s Pastoral and Romantic trends in art and design after WW2. The current plan is to show a representative display of original and print art, complimented by design in textiles, book illustration, ceramics and furniture of the 1950s and 1960s.

In anticipation of holding this show, we have acquired designer textiles of the period published by Sanderson and Heals, who employed top artists and designers of the day. The top image is of part of a pair of screen printed curtains using the ‘Stones of Bath’ design created by John Piper. This was one of a number of commissioned works that marked the anniversary of Arthur Sanderson and Co in 1960.

Sandersons are perhaps now better known for their range of arts and crafts themed William Morris and Morris & Co designs, but also as can be seen dipped their toes into the contemporary art market after the war. The abstract quality of this Piper creation is very evocative of his moody often architectural landscapes produced in prints and paintings at the time.

As a corruscating contrast is the bold design of Teasels by Jane Daniels (below), used in a curtain fabic published by Heals at around the same time.  It has that freshness of aesthetic that characterised the post Festival of Britain scene in interiors, furnishings and ceramics of a time that saw the nascence of Scandinavian design influence in both imported goods and the response of English manufacturers and makers. It will feature in a period interiors display as part of the 2020 exhibition.

Teasel - square

So it is this emergence from the years of wartime austerity and rationing, and blossoming of colour and contemporary design, that we intend to encapsulate in some small way in our exhibits next May/June. So objects both made in and influenced by Mediterranean and international design will feature, including ceramics made by Michael Cardew by that time inspired by village traditions under an African sun in Ghana and Nigeria.

Focus on : David Jones

This superb and lively woodcut is part of a group of ten wood engravings by the artist and calligrapher David Jones, who in his early career worked in Ditchling alongside Eric Gill. Made to illustrate a publication of the letterpress publisher, the Golden Cockerel Press, for a 1927 book, they feature the story of Noah and the Deluge both before and after the event.

They will be on show at our forthcoming exhibition, All Critters Great and Small, which opens on Saturday 9th November 2019 at 9am, and features the use of animals in art and craft, both in antique and folk work, and in 20th century art and design. Jones was an exceptional artist craftsman, and employed a shallow intaglio technique in his wood engraving. The result is a sharpness of line that creates timeless and strong images.

The story of Noahs Ark has been a ready source of creative expression over hundreds of years, and we are using it as a core theme this autumn show, uniting as it does both land and sea. So we will be populating our displays with a suitable menagerie in ceramic, wood and paper, and including in it delightful folk work such as the childrens toy below.


Focus on : CF Tunnicliffe

This recently acquired early etching by Charles Tunnicliffe, The Harvesters (1925) which features in our forthcoming November show, All Critters Great and Small (animals in art & craft), will surprise many who primarily know him by his later bird and animal illustrations. It dates from the time of the great neo-pastoral revival in England in the wake of a major contemporary London exhibition on Samuel Palmer.

Critics believe this work to have been contextually influenced by the continental 19th c artist Boehle. For me it has a distinctly Italianate quality, although it also compares with some of the rural output of Durer. Whatever the source of inspiration, it shows an exceptional eye for detail by a young artist at the start of his career.

Tunnicliffe’s early prints are of a particular interest to us as they show a strong ruralist vein not out of keeping with the 1920s output of Sutherland, Drury and subsequently, Tanner. They date from a time when Charles was still living on his family’s farm in Cheshire which evidently provided him with a wealth of subject matter.

Indeed, it is very likely that the subjects were known to him, possibly working as labourers on his parent’s farm. The very distinctive dappled Percheron draught horses also feature in a number of his works of the 1920s.

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