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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.

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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.

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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

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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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Joey the clown

Prof Collywobbles also tells me that circus performance was never that far away from hand puppet design. In the case of Simmonds, he made an entire set of circus performers currently held at Gloucester Folk Museum and the CSC Farnham.

Whether this influenced his inclusion of this beautifully designed puppet can never be known for sure. The puppet name applied to this character is in recognition of the internationally famous Joseph Grimaldi.

 

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Nursey on hand

Talking to Phil Collins (Prof Collywobbles) it emerged that the Nurse character included in the set is relatively unusual in conventional groups. I think WS had in mind the storylines he wanted to follow and made the characters as required.

This example harks back to the look of a VADS nurse of WW1 with her curious cross carved in to the hat on her head. Note also the detail of her hair bun in the following photo. It is always the sign of quality when one sees attention lavished on areas not primarily in the public gaze.

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