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

Monday, 29 December 2014

The Latest Frameworks Events in Swindon, Bath, Bristol and Cheltenham

Frameworks-Great Art in the West is an Arts Council funded organisation that aims to create links and build audiences in the West of England. It incorporates Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, The Holburne Museum and Victoria Art Gallery in Bath and The Wilson in Cheltenham.
Their latest flyer introduces 4 new exhibitions and a series of talks, it is available at any of the venues and reproduced here.
And last but not least, the contact details:

Sunday, 28 December 2014

A Visit to Sasha Ward's Studio

We are eagerly anticipating Sasha Ward's talk on 26th March at 7.30pm to tell us about her summer at Kelmscott Manor where she was their first Artist in Residence. I missed the talk she gave in Oxford, and fortunately we're getting a second chance to find out about her residency.
 We are thrilled that we have her coming to share with us what it was like to be working in the fabulous location, I want to say 'walking in the footsteps of William Morris', but ought to resist that!
Sasha's blog also gives us an idea of what she has been thinking about at: www.sashaward.co.uk/blog
I snapped away with the camera in the studio where there were some lovely glass pieces against the large windows, some from the residency:


Below the glass cutting table:
 The glass kiln:
Below a test piece showing according to Sasha how easy it can be to make wonderful pieces by using lots of different coloured  stained glass
So make a note of the date in your diary and come along to find out more.
I'll add the poster of the Oxford talk although it's a bit blurry:

Thursday, 18 December 2014

2015 New Talk Series for February - April

Set your new year diaries for the 2015 first series of talks, something for everyone and not to be missed.

Jeremy York lived during difficult and fascinating times in Poland.

Sasha Ward has recentley finished as Artist in Residence at nearby Kelmscott Manor, see her Kelmscott blog to get a taste of her interests while there.  www.sashaward.co.uk/blog

David Cuthbert was a pupil of Cecil Collins, a much loved artist from the Swindon Collection.


Also at SM&AG - exhibitions:

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Swindon In The Great War – One Town’s War

Tuesday 02 September - Saturday 31 January

​A moving exhibition commemorating and bringing to life the stories of Swindon in the Great War.

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Present Tense: Contemporary British Painting & Photography From The Swindon Collection

Wednesday 14 January - Saturday 18 April

​‘Present Tense’ showcases contemporary painting and photography.

And 4 talks and presentations:

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An Introduction to Contemporary British Art

Thursday 29 January at 7pm

​Curator, Sophie Cummings will introduce you to the fascinating contemporary British art in the Swindon Collection.

Monday 2 February 

Artist Lisa Milroy talking 'On the Pleasure of Painting'
                                     

Lunch Time Talk with Sophie Cummings

Thursday 05 March

​Join us for an informal lunchtime tour of our current exhibition.

Lunch Time Talk with Sophie Cummings

Thursday 02 April

​Join us for an informal lunchtime tour of our current exhibition.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Bryn Walters' Talk 28.11.14

Last Friday, 28th November, we were lucky enough to have secured Bryn Walters to talk about the 3 important towns in North Wiltshire, namely Durocornovium- Wanborough, Cunetio - Mildenhall and of arguably lesser importance, Verlucio at Sandy Lane.
Above here's Bryn when we're setting up aided by Tracey White who kindly ensured the projector etc was in good working order, and set up so we got really good images on the screen.
Bryn began by talking about the fact that Lower Wanborough was a real hub in the 2nd Century, he has found Roman wall plaster, mosaic paving, and most of the artefacts in the museum were found there by Bryn. At the same time there were stone quarries at Old Swindon Hill and villas at Swindon.
He touched on the fact that  Silbury Hill at this time was the centre of a water based cult centre that people made pilgrimages to visit. Richard Atkinson found 100 coins thrown into a water feature there.
There was a brilliant turn out for this fascinating talk from the consummate expert on the archaeology of this fascinating area.
When I advertised the talk on Facebook, Barry Leighton kindly sent me this link on the Romans in the area:
http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/10552743.Friends__Romans__Swindonians/  
 Our next Friends talk will be on February 26th, yes a Thursday, by popular demand, although I know it's not popular with everyone.
The next Museum talk by Sophie Cummings will be this Thursday 4th December at 7pm:
And will feature among others this LS Lowry painting, Winter in Pendelbury which is also the featured pick of the month:
 With a bit of information along with it.
And lastly, don't forget you have until 13th December to see the current exhibition, if you haven't seen it, come along soon.
For details on opening times etc: www.swindon.gov.uk/museumandartgallery

Swindon Remembering 1914-18

Following on from the AGM on the 7th November, we were fortunate enough to have Mike Pringle talk about the First World War. His talk was extremely engaging and down to earth, giving real examples of how people were affected by living through this time, and of course many didn't live through this time, but sadly died.
I sat back and relaxed through the talk as Mike brandished a sword to make a point, and show things on the screen when he showed us slides.
The beautifully illustrated book on WWI is available form Pen and Paper, the museum, and many other places around the town. I would highly recommend it, if you are not in Swindon it's ISBN number is: 987-0-7509-5610-9 and it's published by the History Press
 I went to the book launch and was lucky enough to be given some special chocolate:
The talk finished with what was given to soldiers before they went over the top out of the trenches- a tot of rum. A very nice way to end the talk.
More on Mike Pringle at http://www.greenrook.co.uk/about.html
Also see his exhibition at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery:

Exhibitions at Swindon Museum & Art Gallery
Until Saturday 31 January 2015

Turner – Watercolours from the West and Modern British Landscapes
15th October – 13 December 2014
Swindon Museum & Art Gallery is spread over several floors with no lift facilities. Please contact us with any details of specific access or mobility requirements.
 T: 01793 466559

Saturday, 22 November 2014

The New Committee and the Next Talks

Last Monday evening, we had our first Friends committee meeting with everyone present apart from Rosemary Savage who as a new committee member had not been given much notice of the meeting, and was otherwise engaged.
It was a very rewarding meeting, members of the committee were brimming with ideas and full of enthusiasm for ways of improving the Friends.
We took a photograph of the committee, here they are:
Also a reminder that the next Friends talk is by
 Bryn Walters on 'Roman Towns in North Wiltshire' on Friday 28th November at 7.30pm.
The talk is about how the great significance of Roman Wiltshire has not been appreciated due to a preoccupation with neolithic pre-history looking at the three major towns: Durocornovium (Lower Wanborough), Cunetio (Mildenhall, the principle Roman military site after the 4th century revolt) and Verlucio (Sandy Lane).
 Tickets as ever may be bought in advance by ringing 01793 466556 or on the door. Tickets: £4.50 (£3.50 Friends price)
To book, telephone 01793 466556.

The next talk organised by the Museum and Art Gallery is
 'Modern art and images of Christmas' by Swindon Museum & Art Gallery’s Curator, Sophie, on Thursday 4th December at 7pm
This will be a special illustrated seasonal talk about modern art and images of Christmas. 
From LS Lowry’s ‘Winter in Pendlebury’ to Gerald Gardiner’s ‘Christmas Drawing’, the talk looks at the way artists have rejected, subverted and embraced the festive season in their work.
Tickets: £4.50 (£3.50 Friends price) NB. talk starts at 7pm.

Monday, 10 November 2014

All Change at the AGM last Friday evening

It was with some trepidation that I attended the AGM last Friday knowing that Paul Ricketts, Chair for the last 7 years, has now reached the limit allowed by the constitution, and therefore had to stand down. Also standing down are John Walsh, editor of the splendid Journal for the last 15 years, Judith Thomson as Treasurer after 7 years, and Gillian Bromhead who has been Membership Secretary for the last 15 years as well.
I had volunteered for the role of Chair, and was looking forward to making notes on how to run an AGM, since at the last AGM, I was too busy taking notes as Secretary to properly observe proceedings. Unfortunately Paul was unable to attend the AGM because his Mother needed his presence, so I was thrown in at the deep end and became Chair immediately.
The committee now comprises:
Chair: Linda Kasmaty
Vice Chair: Ray Ward
Treasurer: Paul Gregory
Secretary: Jane Milner-Barry
Membership Secretary: Katie Ackrill
Ordinary members:
Vanetta Joffe
Rosemary Savage
David Poulton
Paul Ricketts
Pam Little
John Walsh
Paul Ricketts and Ray Ward have agreed to edit and publish the Journal.
A formidable team whose varied talents will help drive the Friends to bigger and better things; the fact that Katie Ackrill works on reception will make it much easier for people to join the Friends.
A new role of Event's Organiser has been created, but not as yet filled, however we can discuss this at our first committee meeting with the 'new team' next Monday evening.
Following the business end of the meeting, Helen Miah gave us an update on the Museum and Art Gallery, successful Heritage Lottery Funding and Arts Council bids have enabled 2 new people to be employed- Stefanie Vincent is Collections Manager and Jon Ratcliffe is working with younger people. There are plans to work with other groups within the town, and with 3 changes of exhibition so far this year in the gallery, it's not surprising that audience figures have doubled, and they are coming from further afield.
The Heritage Lottery Funding bid for the new Museum and Art Gallery is being finalised now and will be submitted on the 30th November, more news as we have it. Exciting times ahead with a vibrant, energetic team of people at the Museum and Art Gallery to drive the project forward.
With the distractions, I only took 2 photographs:
 I took the drinks one when waiting for people to arrive, and below is a photograph taken when Dr. Mike Pringle had begun his fascinating talk on WW1

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Magnus Quaife In Conversation

On Friday 31st October, Magnus Quaife was in conversation with Sophie Cummings at an event organised by the Contemporary Arts Society, CAS and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
Before the event started, Ellen Mara de Wachter explained a bit about the CAS whose aim is to facilitate the acquisition of new work to galleries throughout the country; founded in 1910, the CAS has been instrumental in bringing 40 works of art to Swindon's collection since we joined in 1945, including Augustus John's 'Smiling Women'.
This year, the CAS donated 3 works by Magnus Quaife to our collection, and they arranged for him to come along and talk about his practice.
His practice involves an exploration of the significance and circulation of images and cultural artefacts through painting and curating.
The three pieces are watercolour paintings from the series 1968 and Other Myths were prompted by the 40th anniversary of events in 1968, and the fact that his Mother had been in Paris in 1968 when the student uprisings were taking place, and became interested in iconic images available on the internet from this time.
Above Sophie and Magnus at question time, and below the computer projecting images and 'Miss Iceland' in the background
Another one of Magnus and Sophie
The three paintings we have are below:
                                 
 They all untitled, the one above is also 'Ben'
The watercolours are in black and white because the photographs from that time were black and white.
                                         
The one above is 'Prague Tank' and 'Miss Iceland' is below
More information on the three paintings here:http://www.swindonlink.com/news/swindons-art-collection-receives-a-boost
I've included another picture form the series below:
It was a very interesting evening, lots of people attended and asked questions, and at the end, Magnus Quaife said what a great honour it was to have his work in the Swindon Collection.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Curator's Talk on Modern British Landscapes

Sophie Cummings, Curator at the Museum and Art Gallery, gave a talk last Friday night on the exhibition of Modern British Landscapes she has put together to compliment the 'Turner's Watercolours in the West' exhibition which runs until the 13th December.
Sophie talked about the history of landscape painting via a series of slides of these paintings- starting with Salomon van Ruysdael's 'Landscape with Farm' from 1631, onto Gainsborough's 'Mr and Mrs Andrews', Constable's 'Flatford Mill' and onto Turner's 'Malmesbury Abbey'; the latter being part of the Turner exhibition.
 
From there, she talked about paintings on the walls including John Piper's 'Pistyll Maes-Glasau 1940, Claude Muncaster's 'Trees on Ellerside Moss' , a watercolour painted outdoors in the Lake District where he was born. It's the painting on the right in the photo below:
Then we looked at the 2 paintings by Gerald Gardiner- 'Towards Wiltshire-Early Autumn' 1944 a  painting glowing with rich light, and 'Christmas Dawning' also painted in 1944, a re-interpretation of the previous scene, the thatcher's ladder lies abandoned and the cold, dim light is in sharp contrast to the mellow glow of early autumn. F.C. Phelps presented both of these paintings which can be seen to good effect on notelets available in the shop. Not such good photos here:
Alfred Wallis' 'Ship Amid Tall Waves' is a fabulous painting:
And on to Philip Wilson Steer's 'Boats in Harbour' painted in 1920 and purchased by T.E.Lowinsky for the Contemporary Art Society and presented by the Society in 1946. Lowinsky lived in Aldbourne and Steer was a friend of his.
Next we looked at Augustus John's 'Classical Scene' and onto Paul Nash's 'Edge of the Wood' painted in 1944, not really seen below, but positioning established:
We finished with Richard Long's 'Roisin Dubh from 1976
and Barbara Howey's 'Pagoda' 2012.
I have also used the 'Guide to the Swindon Collection of Twentieth Century British Art' available in the shop for some of the information.
The next talk is tomorrow evening at 7pm. Magnus Quaife who has 3 pieces in the Swindon Collection will be in conversation with Sophie Cummings.
http://www.swindon.gov.uk/events/Pages/Contemporary-Arts-Society-Talk---Magnus-Quaife.aspx



Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A Friends Trip to Wiltshire Museum in Devizes

On the 20th October, we were lucky enough to be given a guided tour of the new Prehistoric Wiltshire Gallery, by museum director, David Dawson. The displays feature 500 Stonehenge period objects, including 30 pieces of gold treasure excavated from Bush Barrow near Stonehenge displayed permanently for the first time.
 Above a variety of axe heads, including the greenish one made of jadeite, and below more axes and bowls
Here's a photo of David Dawson in front of a reconstruction of a long barrow
Information on the gold:



Above the amber necklace beads, and below information on the necklace
For more information on the Wiltshire Museum, have a look at the website:
www.wiltshiremuseum.org.uk
The church next door is also worth looking at: