Friends of SM&AG work to help Swindon Museum and Art Gallery in conserving and adding to the collection.
Become a Friend of the Swindon Museumand Art Gallery
For only £10 a year, you can become a Friend and come along to our talks, join us on trips out to places like The Royal Academy and Pallant House Gallery, there's always something going on. To become a Friend or find out more about us, go to the website www.friendsofsmag.org
Curator Sophie Cummings gave us a wonderful tour of the new Paper exhibition at lunchtime on Friday 1 December. The lunchtime talks are free and start at 12.30pm and last half an hour, with time for questions afterwards. They are well attended and extremely enjoyable and informative.
Above some of those who turned up to hear the talk, and below Sophie talking about a group of drawings
and below talking about Nicholas Munro's 'Igloos'.
The pieces Sophie particularly picked out to discuss are seen below:
above you'll all recognise this Alfred Wallis picture 'Ship amid Tall Waves', oil and pencil on board
above not so typical of Edward Bawden's 'Essex Housing Estate' painted in 1954
Above John Nash's 'Buoys at Harwich' painted c 1955, it's watercolour on paper, and below 'Grey and White Drawing' by John Walker in 1965-6. It's an amazing piece, the way it's executed makes it look like it's made form many different pieces of paper, but it's a clever optical illusion.
And this piece by Nicholas Moore is a screen print called 'Igloos' has been used to promote the exhibition.#
Above Alison Lambert's 'Amal' a drawing with collaged elements, 2008.#
Below 4 pieces by Cecil Collins, Head, Head, Sun Head and Studies.
Below this is Goshawk by Charles Tunnicliffe it's a wood engraving on paper.
With a bit of reflection, a drawing by Duncan Grant entitled 'Kneeling Figure'#
Below Michael Ayrton's etching entitled 'Narcissus' 1976 #
Those pieces with a hashtag beside them are examples of pieces from the Meryl Ainslie Gift, an anonymous gift of fifty works on
paper given in tribute to the artist and gallery owner Meryl Ainslie.
The next FREE lunchtime talk will take place on Friday 15 December at 12.30pm and will look at the Janet Boulton exhibition.
On Wednesday 29 November from 6pm, there was a Private View of the two new exhibitions which had just opened, were very well attended and we had a wonderful evening.
In the main part of the gallery, the exhibition Paper: Drawings, prints and works on paper from the Swindon Collection, this is what the website says:
Works on paper are some of the most fascinating examples of modern
art. This exhibition features drawings, watercolours and prints by
modern and contemporary artists and demonstrates the huge range of
effects that can be created using paper and imagination.
The exhibition celebrates the recent Meryl Ainslie Gift donation – a
group of more than 50 works on paper given anonymously to Swindon in
2017 in appreciation of Meryl Ainslie’s services to the Arts. Meryl
Ainslie MA is founder of Rabley Drawing Centre, a gallery and drawing
school located near Marlborough which specialises in drawings, works on
paper and original prints. She worked at Swindon School of Art between
1993 and 2004 and was instrumental in the development and delivery of
the successful higher education programme in Fine Art Drawing.
The exhibition features works by Allen Jones, Nicholas Monro, Michael
Ayrton, Basil Beattie and Katherine Jones. These are displayed
alongside prints by Ian Hamilton Finlay, Eduardo Paolozzi and Cecil
Collins, and drawings by George Clausen, Gwen John and Augustus John.
The exhibition in the smaller part of the gallery is called Janet Boulton: Watercolours
Janet Boulton is internationally known for her watercolours and paper
relief works, but few know of her connections to Swindon. This
exhibition celebrates her works on paper and will include paintings
inspired by music, still life and gardens.
Boulton was born in Swindon. After art school, she returned to the
town and worked as an art teacher at Swindon College, Commonweal and
Hreod Parkway. In 1977, Swindon Museum and Art Gallery hosted her
exhibition, ‘Windows and Reflections’, inspired by her views from
classrooms in the town. Since the late 1970s, she has worked at Ian
Hamilton Finlay’s garden at Little Sparta, the Villa La Pietra, and the
Garden Museum. Her work is in public and private collections in the UK
This exhibition is a welcome return to Swindon from this important
artist. It celebrates both her innovative use of watercolour and her
engagement with nature, beauty, architecture and music.
As you can see, the gallery was fairly packed
We were very fortunate to have Richard Morphet giving an opening speech. Richard seen below is known for his long association with the museum, for many years he advised Denys Hodson about acquisitions for the Swindon Collection.
The Paper exhibition continues until 10 March, and Janet Boulton's exhibition continues until 20 January. Don't miss the in conversation with Janet Boulton and Sophie Cummings on Thursday 14 December.
On Wednesday 29 November, members of the Trust were asked to attend a photoshoot at the Civic Offices in Euclid Street, to celebrate the delivery of the newly bound copies of the Bid for the new Swindon Museum and Art Gallery to be delivered the following day to the Heritage Lottery Fund offices in Exeter. Several photographers spent about half an hour getting Rod Hebden to pose with a wheelbarrow full of postcards with a line of us behind him and on the steps of the Civic Offices, which posed a problem for leader of the council David Renard, because being taller than most of us had to stand on a low step at the front of the group. We held copies of the Bid above our heads, we cheered and generally did all the things we were asked to do, but I can't find a record in the media of any of the photos taken that day.
I took these two when I arrived, Eleanor Collins from Vox PR handing over one of the Bid folders
and here's the front cover with an artist's impression of the building designed by Make Architects
The next day, Thursday 30 November, we supporters met outside the Museum to wave Rod Hebden and Paul Holmes off and wish them luck.
Above Tom Seaward reporter at the Swindon Advertiser simultaneously photographing and interviewing Rod.
I like this photo above because it shows Rod in action with a box of postcards!!
Stonehenge and Avebury were inscribed together on the UNESCO World
Heritage Site List in 1986. The Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites
World Heritage Site was one of the UK’s very first World Heritage Sites. Stonehenge and Avebury gained their place on the World Heritage Site
list for their outstanding prehistoric monuments dating back over 5000
years to the Neolithic and Bronze Age. Stonehenge is the most famous
and sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the world. At Avebury the
massive banks and ditches of the henge enclose its largest. Both stone
circles lie at the heart of prehistoric landscapes containing numerous
impressive and amazingly well-preserved ceremonial monuments.
Sarah guided us through some very interesting information about both Avebury and Stonehenge sites, including the fact that there are 250 round barrows around the Avebury site, and she reminded us that artists such as Turner and Paul Nash have been influenced by the stones in the landscape.
The main issue at Stonehenge, the 8th most visited site in the UK, is how to manage the traffic, which is why an underground road has been suggested to attempt to separate traffic from the stones.
163 countries have signed up to the Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and national heritage, delisting can happen if a site isn't managed properly. There are 31 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK, the latest one is in the Lake District. A site needs one of ten criteria to become a WHS, it's now much harder to again world heritage status than it was in 1986.
I'm not sure adding thses photos is worthwhile, the top one shows a photo of the Lake District and below there's a map showing Avebury and Stonehenge, they are 40km apart apparently.
After the talk, we drew the raffle, and I'm pleased to say that most people who won were in the audience, so were able to choose what they wanted from the selection of prizes. Lynette's mosaic of Stonehenge and Avebury went to a very good home, and we raised £140. Thank you to all who took part in the raffle.
We've got some fabulous prizes in our Christmas raffle being drawn tomorrow. Tickets are 50p each or £2 a strip, and we're raising money for our continuing support of the museum in helping purchase artworks, restoration of paintings and collections, sponsoring exhibitions, like the forthcoming Janet Boulton one and so on.
The prizes are fabulous, tickets will be on sale at tomorrow night's talk by Sarah Simmonds on the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site. The talk starts at 7.30pm, it's being held at Swindon Dance in the former Town Hall, SN1 1QF, and doors open at 7pm.
I have photographs of 3 of the prizes:
Above a mosaic by Lynette Thomas with a Stonehenge and Avebury theme, and below one of Tim Carroll's One Hundred Views of Swindon books
And another gorgeous prize, an Italian food hamper
Other prizes include:
a writing set
a print by Sir William Russell Flint- Conversation Piece
another print by the same artist Venetian Festival
The book A History of the World in 100 Objects
Red Spanish wine
Linocut by Cheryl Holland
Pen drawing by Gill Robinson
Swindon Highlights calendar by Dona Bradley
Here's a poster advertising the exhibition with more details:
For the second half of the AGM, we handed over to Curator Sophie Cummings to give us her news:
Sophie mentioned some of the exhibitions earlier this year, including the very popular Paint Me this Way! a fantastically moving portrait therapy exhibition by Susan Carr
and how often Vanessa Bell's painting has been requested by other galleries
Great news is that the Friends have helped purchase this Eileen Cooper painting which will on show soon.
Above other acquisitions include the Sarah Purvey ceramic from the From Where I'm Standing Exhibition bought by the Friends, a photo of Deacons at the end of the 19th Century, Aerobots by David Bent and the donation by Fenella Elms of her intricate piece from the From Where I'm Standing Exhibition
Future plans include revamping the archaeology displays, restoration of the Todd herbarium Collection, and an exhibition of musical instruments in our collection.
Then Rod Hebden, Director of the Trust talked about latest photos of the proposed new museum and art gallery, and answered questions.
There was a short time afterwards for drinks and I managed to take a couple of photos, having been reunited with my phone:
Great evening, thank you to all of those who came and made it so special.
We had a very well attended, successful AGM last night at Swindon Dance, the business was conducted quite quickly, and I'll summarise changes - two of our committee moved on to other things this year. We were sorry to lose John Walsh who had been on the committee for many years, and compiled and edited the Journal until a couple of years ago. The Journal was taken over by Vice Chair Ray Ward, and has now been taken over by Ian Wilkins who will produce the Christmas Journal. On becoming a Councillor, and then also a Parish Councillor, it was fairly obvious that Jane Milner-Barry would have to leave the committee, Jane was a wonderful secretary of the Friends, she is replaced by Rosemary Savage who is a wonderful replacement for Jane. Rosemary and Martin also run the bar at talks which is fabulous.
We have two new members on the committee: Rachel Voyce who is going to be helping us with fundraising, and Simon Gale, our new membership secretary.
From the voting, we moved fairly swiftly onto Power Point presentations summing up the year's activities. I sent Mike Bradley photographs and he converted them into stories about what we'd been doing. For better photos, or more information about the events, please look back at blog posts.
I have photographed the Power Point presentation and then sent them at low resolution, so many are quite hard to read, they give you an idea of what went on. I've put the photo of the committee first, and got a higher resolution copy of that:
There's an error here, opening hours increased this year from 16 to 35 hours
Onto Paul Gregory for financial news:
Information about talks, these were organised by Katie Ackrill who was unable to be with us last night, so introduced by Ray Ward. The year started well with Christopher Le Brun and then David Ferry