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

Friday, 10 November 2017

AGM Part Two

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.
 The next exhibition will include works on paper from the Swindon Collection
 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.

24th Friends AGM 9.11.17

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
 Onto Jennie Anderson, Prof Gill Clarke and Stef Vincent
 Cathy Lomax in September and Peter Waldron last month
 We had four wonderful days out, to Madresfield Court
 Hauser and Wirth
 Watts Gallery
 and Chavenage House
 We also were involved with the trip to Rabley to help spread the word about the new museum and art gallery to Rabley Friends.
 We've still got 2 talks to come in 2017
 and next year:
 Flyers for next year will be available as soon as we can get all dates finalised



 Out with the model..


 There was more, please see next blog post for even more slides, and to join the Friends, please visit our website

Monday, 6 November 2017

AGM Thursday 9.11.17 a Preview

This Thursday we're holding our Annual General Meeting at Swindon Dance, Town Hall, Regent Circus, SN1 1QF starting at 7.30pm, doors open at 7pm.It's a great opportunity to look back at what's been achieved this year, and to look forward to next year.
This year, we're doing the usual approving the minutes of last year's AGM, voting in the committee along with any new members, then we move onto a PowerPoint presentation put together by Mike Bradley which gives an amusing and speedy run through some photos of talks and trips. I've taken photos of some of the pdfs he sent the committee yesterday to give you an idea of how well he's put them together:
 I hope I'm not giving too much away, but they're lovely aren't they? Above the introductory slide
 Highlights above, and below the Hauser and Wirth trip photos

 Ending our bit with ideas for helping the work of the Friends of SM&AG
Following our presentation, Sophie Cummings, Curator at the museum will be talking about some of the highlights this year, including some recent acquisitions and donations.
Then Rod Hebden, Director of the Trust, will talk about the frantic life he's led since being appointed in April this year to put the bid for a new museum and art gallery to the Heritage Lottery Fund to build an iconic new building in the centre of town.
After that we will be holding a social and a raffle to raise funds. You don't need tickets to come to the AGM, entry is free, and there's a bar where you can buy a drink.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Peter Waldron's Talk about his exhibition

Peter's exhibition entitled 'Odyssey' runs until 18 November in the sectioned off part of the main gallery upstairs. The museum's website, says 'his bold, abstract paintings are inspired by the rhythm, colour and energy of natural forms. This exhibition explores the artist’s life and career to date and brings together a selection of his paintings and drawings'.
 I'll show you a selection of the work on display, although if you haven't visited the museum to see, it's well worth a trip.
It's also good to see that the Friends supported this exhibition, and are also supporting the next exhibition, the first for 40 years of Janet Boulton's paintings
 Peter gave us a lovely biography, the cacti with additions are a theme running through his work form the beginning. He brought with him a great abstract painting of Avebury, and several others which Ray Ward and myself held up for the audience to see.
 Below are some of Peter's paintings of flowers
 and here are a series of abstract shapes in red, black and white.
I'll add some photos taken during the talk before adding notes about Peter's talk:
 The above photo is courtesy of Marion James, and shows Peter talking in the front
 Below Peter talking about the paintings he brought with him:
 Ray holding up a picture
 Peter going round his exhibition:

Peter was born in 1941 in Swindon, on reaching school leaving age, he was given 3 choices of career because there were 3 major employers in the town at that time, they were GWR, Garrards and Plesseys. Peter was apprenticed to work at Plesseys from 15-21, because his father worked there. He was working with metal and wasn't happy until he discovered life drawing evening classes, he ended up going to 3 classes a week.At 21, Peter was able to take a foundation course in Swindon and had the most wonderful teachers, including ceramicist Peter Burgess whose work is currently displayed in the museum. From there he applied to Chelsea where he met and worked with Patrick Caulfield, John Hoyland and Bridget Riley at Space
Peter became interested in the idea of going to Crete, and visited many times before buying a house in Myritos in 1989, he spends form February until October out there.
He also praised Keith Murray at Wedgewood who encouraged him to do linear paintings. He's currently enjoying using gilding in his painting.
I very much liked this, he said: 'Good art has energy, vigour and mystery'
A bit like Peter really.

Chavenage House Visit

Our fourth trip of the year took place in October to Chavenage House, and although I didn't go on this trip due to holidays, have found a flyer about the house, there's a website, and I have kindly been given permission to use the excellent photos taken by Marion James.
Although this historic Elizabethan house is home to the Lowsley-Williams family, it has been open to the public for a number of years. Tours of the house are usually conducted by a member of the family who will show visitors the tapestry rooms, furniture and relics of the Cromwellian period.
During the Civil War (1641-1649) Chavenage was owned by Colonel Nathaniel Stephens, MP for Gloucestershire who was persuaded by Cromwell, to whom he was related, to vote to impeach the King. Soon after the King was beheaded and Colonel Stephens died and it is said that his ghostly form was seen being driven away from Chavenage by a headless coachman wearing the royal vestments.
Chavenage has been used as a film set for many TV series, the most recent being Poldark starring Aidan Turner, although it's George and Elizabeth Warleggan who 'live' at Chavenage.
 The above photo shows Cromwell's bedroom with the famous tapestries still intact
 Below in the entrance hall, there's a small figure representing Poldark
 A snapshot of some of the group.
 Below you cna see the lounge decorated by the BBC with 'Poldark wallpaper'
 Here you can see the fabulous uninterrupted views from the house.
 And here's the dining room where visitors are treated to afternoon tea and Auntie Caroline's cakes.

How I wish I'd been able to go, still there's always next year.
The Chavenage visit was the last for 2018, with visits to Madresfield Court, Hauser and Wirth, The Watts Gallery, and Chavenage House, we visited some outstanding places in the area.