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, 27 November 2015

Lunchtime Talk on LS Lowry

Sophie Cummings, our Curator, gave a lunch time talk today at 12.30pm on LS Lowry, it's one of a series of talks given by Sophie,  with just a handful of people attending initially, the numbers have increased at each talk, as you will see from the photos, lots of people attended today:

 It was quite hard to get a photograph which included everyone; above Sophie talking beside 'A Procession' which has just returned from 8 months at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath.
Sophie talked about Lowry's life and then focused at length on 'A Procession':
a glorious work, and 'Winter in Pendlebury, Manchester' seen below
which is in fact one and a half paintings because there's one on the reverse side of it which we will see displayed one day soon.
Don't miss the next talk in a week's time  for a 'FREE lunch time talk focusing on our ceramics collection, including an introduction to our most recent acquisitions by Edmund de Waal and Bernard Leach.'




AGM followed Dr Mike Pringle's talk

Last night thirty five of us gathered together for the Friends of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery's AGM at 6.30pm; it was good to see so much support; there was so much going on that it was hard to get through the business in an hour, in fact we over ran, and had less time for chatting and refreshments. There will be minutes, kindly prepared by our secretary, Jane Milner-Barry, but I'll try and summarise what happened at the meeting. We were pleased pass the newly prepared Constitution, albeit with a few minor amendments, written with the help of Mike Bradley who was co-opted onto  the committee because of his expertise in constitution writing. We were then able to vote in members of the committee, including welcoming new members: Mike Bradley, Martin Newman and Ian Wilkins.
I have added extra pages, accessible from  'Pages' on the right hand side, to include my report and other information from the AGM.
We were then pleased to welcome Nicky Alberry, who explained that in September this year, SBC gave the authority for the SM&AG charitable Trust to be formed, Robert Hiscox was been asked to lead the Trust which has two main aims: to take forward the design of the new museum and art gallery, and recruit a director going forward. Lawyers have been appointed and a new charitable constitution has been drawn up. There are 5 members of the Trust at the moment, in addition to Nicky Alberry and Robert Hiscox, there's Joel Joffe, Peter Troughton and Cllr Brian Mattock. The closing date for applying for the job of director of the next HLF bid is 21 December and details appear here.
Communications regarding the newly formed Trust have Nicky admitted been poor, and this will change, a view emphasised by Paddy Bradley. 
Paddy is keen to form a triangular engagement with us, the council and the Trust, which was good news. Joel also spoke passionately about preparing the way for a new HLF bid and looks forward to the time, as we all do, when we have a new museum and art gallery in the cultural quarter in the centre of town.
This left little time for Stef Vincent , Museum Collections Project Manager, to talk about 'The Hand' shown below:
 Research by a student at Cranfield University has shown the hand is human and Egyptian, more on this in 2016.
The picture below shows Stef talking to people about the hand before we began the AGM.
Apologies for the lack of photographs, I was concerned about what was going on.
After the break Dr Mike Pringle gave us a fabulous talk on Richard Jefferies, the importance of his legacy, and the work being done at the Richard Jefferies Museum at Coate.
I made a note to read a copy of 'The Story of my Heart', Monty Don's favourite book, and 'After London', Will Self's favourite book. Jefferies had a passion for nature and the environment. His bust is in Salisbury Cathedral, and he is widely celebrated.
After clearing up, Jane and I went to the Plough for a well earned lager:
Thank you to all who came along last night, and engaged with the process.


Thursday, 19 November 2015

Posters for next 2 Events

The last two events of 2015 are the AGM next week starting at 6.30pm, followed by refreshments and a free talk by Dr Mike Pringle at 8pm.
Here's the poster advertising that event:
and on Thursday 10th December a talk by Madeleine Emerald on Pre-Raphaelite Angels on High?
Buying tickets in advance for this talk is advisable.


Rabley Drawing Centre Friends visit us

having had a really wonderful visit to Rabley Drawing Centre on 30 September, we were very pleased to be able to offer refreshments to the Rabley Drawing Centre Friends yesterday. They arrived about 10am and we offered coffee and masses of cake made by the committee:
 Quite a few of our Friends came along as well; proceedings began with a chat by Meryl Ainslie, director of Rabley, followed by a talk by Sophie Cummings, curator of the collection who gave a short history of Swindon and the museum and art gallery
 and then talked about the Going to Town exhibition
she wandered around talking about various aspects and paintings in the exhibition.



I find it hard to delete photos, from the posts, so probably add too many, but like these for different reasons, and think they give a good idea of the atmosphere. After the talk, Sophie gave conducted tours of the stores, I didn't go in there, and photos weren't allowed anyway, but people liked what they had seen in there.
Sue Gray also took some photos and sent these to me:
 Above Meryl talking to Rabley Friends, and below Rosemary Savage chatting
 A good one of Sophie and Meryl

 And this is a clever photo of Sophie taken through the ceramics cabinet
I think there were about 30 people altogether and almost all the cake was eaten after a very cautious start to the cake eating, people quickly began eating it.

Trip to Heelis, National Trust Central Offices

A group of about 20 Friends visited Heelis, the Central Offices of the National Trust on Friday 6 November. I was traveling to St.Ives that day, so was unable to go along; photos are courtesy of Jane Milner-Barry. If anyone has any more photos, then please send them to me and I'll add them to these.


You'll probably recognise a few faces.
Looking through my emails, I discovered these photos from Alex Coppock-Bunce:


 The garden was popular

 I'm unsure whether to keep these in, I don't know what they are.
 I must contact Alex and ask for notes to add to them.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Two Events at SM&AG On Friday

It felt as though I'd almost moved into the museum last week, there was the Friends' talk on Thursday evening, then Sophie Cummings gave an excellent talk on Craigie Aitchison at 12.30pm on Friday lunchtime:
 The talk  was well attended, and very rewarding; we were encouraged to look back from the larger works, and be drawn in to the smaller ones, and stand for some time in front of those we liked so we could fully appreciate them.
Later on, I was back for the Private View of the Craigie Aitchison exhibition, here's Meryl Ainslie of the Rabley Drawing Centre who was instrumental in bringing together these wonderful pieces, many from private collections, so we have examples of work from each decade of his life. As Meryl pointed out, we will never be able to see these works together again, so it's a privilege to see the exhibition.
Above Meryl talking about the exhibition, and to her left Cllr Mattock who also spoke about how pleased he was to see the exhibition and success of the gallery.
 The evening was well attended and gave people a chance to chat to each other; from my point of view, it was useful to meet a few people who wanted to join the Friends, and also give talks in 2016. It's going to be a good year.