Become a Friend of the Swindon Museumand Art Gallery

For only £15 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

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Lunchtime talks at SM&AG

Many of you will know that curator, Sophie Cummings. gives free lunchtime talks on certain  Fridays. These highly informative, informal talks are well worth attending. They start at 12.30pm and last for half an hour, no booking is required, just turn up on the day.
A list of the lunchtime talks, along with Friends' evening talks appears on the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery website, please look at that for more details, in the meantime, here's a quick synopsis of the talks:
Friday 18 January Gifted! a talk on the new exhibition
Friday 8 February a Ceramics talk
Friday 8 March talk on This Women's Work exhibition
29 March talk Artist and Model exhibition
5 April talk on David Bent's 'Out of the Box' exhibition
I'm highlighting the fact there's a talk this Friday 18 February on the new Gifted! exhibition.

Gifted! - new exhibition in the main gallery

Or to give it the full title: Gifted! How gifts and donation have shaped the Swindon Collection of Modern British Art, I've copied what they say on their website about the exhibition:
Gifted! explores the gifts, bequests and donations that have helped establish Swindon’s collection as one of the most important collections of modern British art outside London. From early benefactor Jimmy Bomford and Frederick Phelps, to the longstanding support of the Contemporary Art Society and Art Fund, the exhibition explores how gifts have shaped the collection and provided Swindon with some remarkable and challenging works of art.
The exhibition includes paintings by LS Lowry, Graham Sutherland and Alfred Wallis, along with more recent work by Nicola Tyson, Eileen Cooper and Allen Jones.
As well as exploring the legacy of major gifts and benefactors, the exhibition also shines a light on some lesser known contributions from the Campaign to Protect Rural England and Soroptimist International.
The exhibition is fantastic, some of my favourite paintings are on display. It's well worth having a look at the exhibition which runs until 16 March. I've picked out a few  examples of work in the exhibition and taken a few general overviews of the gallery.
 I'm starting with George Downs, 'Landscape' because it looks so fantastic after it's conservation which the Friends supported, the odd angle is an error in my photography.
 Another painting the Friends helped conserve, and which is consequently now sparkly bright is Jack Smith's 'Night Sky' which looks fabulous.
I know from time spent on the front desk, that people who come to visit Swindon Museum and Art Gallery love to see the really famous artists' work we have, so I know they will be flocking to see the two LS Lowry paintings which are hung together:
'Winter in Pendelbury' which was one of the original Bomford gift paintings, on the left and 'A Procession' on the right which was bequeathed by Anthony Carlisle through the Art Fund in 1993.
 Here are some general views of walls to whet your appetite, I want you to come and see the exhibition, so this post is intended as a taster

 It's looking great isn't it? Three of my favourites below. How does Ronald Ossory Dunlop produce such memorable portraits?

 Isn't it wonderful to see Mary Fedden's 'Spanish Chair' on display again?
 And on display for the first time in the gallery, 'Regent Circus' painted in 1945 by Harold Dearden and purchased with the help of the Friends.
A reminder that the Art and Conflict exhibition is on until Saturday 19 January

Fabulous signage for Gifted! exhibition

I'm sure we've all admired the signage applied to walls giving information about the exhibition on show. It makes a well hung exhibition look fabulous, and that's true of the present 'Gifted!' exhibition. I imagined curator, Sophie Cummings, on a ladder trying hard to not get wrinkles in the signage as she applied it to the wall. But no, it is a really professional job, and is best carried out by experts. I was fortunate on Tuesday that my visit coincided with the signs being stuck to the wall in what appeared to be a multi stage process. I didn't like to follow them too closely in case anything went wrong, so discretely took a few photos:
 The first stage involved measuring where the title of the exhibition should go, and asking the other person doing this whether it looked right
 Having decided on the position, some covering paper had to be removed
 and here it is almost off
 and then completely off, and the letters then had to be rollered onto the wall to make sure they were sticking properly.
 Only after the job was done did I ask if it ever went wrong, and yes it does sometimes and the signs have to be made again.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Talks and Trips for 2019

Happy New Year to everyone. May 2019 be a year of fantastic art engagement for us all.
Flyers illustrating the talks and trips for 2019 are available at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, on their website, and they also appear on our website. Buying tickets for talks in advance is recommended to avoid disappointment; they can be bought from our website, and from reception during museum opening hours: 11.00am-4.30pm Tuesday - Saturday.
Our first event of 2019 is a Wine Tasting at Magnum wine shop
followed by a talk by Conservation Architect Michael Gray:

Followed by Ken White in conversation with Andy Binks, this will be a rerun of the talk at Christ Church on 8 June 2018. If you missed that fabulous event, don't miss out this time.
and then we have a trip to the Victoria Art Gallery, meeting at 3.30pm, we will be shown the stores by their Friends followed by a tour of the galleries and an optional meal out in Bath before returning home.
Later on we're having a talk by sculptor David Lomax, entitled Threads in a Web
and then in May, David Bent will be talking about the wide ranging influences that have inspired his work:
Our June talk by Emile de Bruijn on acquiring works for the National Trust
At the beginning of July, we have organised a trip to the Dulwich Picture Gallery to see Cutting Edge, an exhibition of work by the Grosvenor School:
There will be a talk in July, but it is yet to be announced.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Wine and Cheese Evening

Our December Friends' event was a fundraising wine and cheese evening. The evening was based on a similar event a year ago hosted by Old Town Business Association and organised by Friends of Twigs. I talked to those involved in organising it last year, and was offered the loan of small plates and wooden circular cheese boards from Olive Tree Cafe. Wine was supplied by Magnum Wine Shop in Wood Street, and there were some fabulous raffle prizes donated, including a hamper from Da Paolo's Delicatessen, mounted prints from David Bent, a linocut from Ken White, 100 Views of Swindon book from Tim Carroll, there were 2 bottles of wine, a miniature oil painting and a clock on offer as well. You can see below some of the prizes:
 and Ken White's linocut
 having set out the cheese, pate, plates, grapes, celery, bread, tomatoes, biscuits and wine Kathy and Martin take a breather before anyone else arrives
 Another view of the tables
and Rosemary checking everything is alright
 I had mentioned there would be speakers during the evening, somehow thinking I'd be able to persuade some of the artists taking part in the Collective Open Art Exhibition to talk. This needed more thought, and was not going to happen. Fortunately for everyone present, Erik Burnett-Godfree was able to save the evening by talking about what an interesting painting Lisa Milroy's 'Small Objects' is when scrutinised.
 I took a photo of the assembled crowd listening to Erik, and afterwards took a photo of David Ash with his photograph of an old boat.
What a brilliant evening, thank you to all those who came along. We raised over £600 which was great.

Collective artists with their work

Initially I wanted to photograph artists with their work at the Collective Open Art Exhibition in the main gallery at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery to include them in the Christmas edition of the Friends' Journal. For various reasons it wasn't possible to include all the photographs, they do make an interesting record of the exhibition, so I'm going show the photos in this blog post. If anyone else hasn't been included and would like to be, please contact me before Saturday 5 January at 4.30pm. I will be in the gallery from 11.00am -1.00pm next Saturday if it's convenient for you to come in then.
I've added them in the order in which I took them.
 Above Philip JB Robinson with his two paintings, and below Caroline Day with her parents in front of her David Austin rose painting.
 Below Maria Drysz with her photograph
 Next to Caroline Day's roses is 'Refuge From the Heat' by Carol Burns, it's acrylic paint and gold leaf.
 I got included in this photograph kindly taken by Vanetta Joffe. It's proved very useful when updating my social media pictures. It was taken to show Paul Gregory in front of a portrait of him painted by Jane Milner-Barry who also has two other still lives in the exhibition.
 Below here's Terry Humphries with his painting
 and Sholeh Jafari with her painting. I realise I must visit the museum again on Wednesday and obtain names for these paintings.
 and here's Cate Watson below, winner of the Oink Gallery prize for the most original and well executed piece.
 Here's Toby Kirk with his photograph
 and Joseph Wright with two of his photographs
 Here's David Ash with his photograph of a boat
 and yesterday at the family workshop, I met Mia Willis with her much discussed painting 'Detail 3'. I had been discussing how Mia achieved the effect with one of the people attending the workshop, when Mia herself walked in. An amazing coincidence.
I'm hoping I might be able to add a few more artists with their paintings before the end of the exhibition on Saturday 5 January.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Collective Private View

The Swindon Museum and Art gallery really came to life at the private view of Collective, the open art exhibition. I took lots of general photos of the evening, and then photos of artists beside their work, which will appear in the next blog post.
After general chatting, there were speeches and presentations, firstly owner of Oink Gallery, Mark Pepperall, selected ‘Fallen‘ by Cate Watson as “the most original and well executed piece submitted”and here he is with Cate Watson:
 and here's Tim Carroll whose painting ‘Waiting Room‘ was selected by curator Sophie Cummings for his “work of art that embodies the creativity and vitality of the regional art scene”
It was good to see Rod Hebden at the event, seen here talking to Paul Gregory
 There were possibly a hundred people in the room
 People still milling around and chatting here
 and here
 and then listening to the speeches
 at what was one of the most successful private views in the gallery.