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, 25 January 2016

Weather Eye Exhibition Opened last week

There's a new exhibition in the newly created small gallery where the Craigie Aitchison exhibition was held. It's a small exhibition of varied works, all depicting the natural world. The walls give you an idea of the tones:

This one has seascapes
 Fabulous blues below:
And a lovely blue wall to complement the paintings above
The information panel explains it all, apologies for missing out the Bomberg.
Here are a few which I thought I'd reproduce here:
 Above is 'Ebb Tide on the Reef at Clodgy' by Borlase Smart in 1943. This painting was at one time lent to Noel Riley at the Beehive for a discussion group to talk about it.
 'Sussex Landscape' by Claude Muncaster 1947
 'Landscape' by Denis Wirth-Miller 1956
 'Burning the leaves' Mary Potter 1955
'Welsh Hills' by CRW Nevison undated and the subject of a free lunchtime talk by Sophie Cummings on 11 March 12.30-1pm, along with Wallis' boat painting.
 There's also a general talk by Sophie on the exhibition on Friday 12 February 12.30-1pm. It's free to everyone, so do come along.
 'Cricklade Landscape' by Edward Butler


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Deep Space Astrophotography and the Blackett Observatory

The first Friends' visit and talk of the year was to the Mount House Gallery to see Gavin Jones' exhibition of deep space astrophotography. We were treated not only to the photos, but a video Gavin had made of his telescope in his back garden in Marlborough, and a detailed explanation  of how the photographs were treated to enable a better view of space.
Here are a couple:
and this one of the North American nebula
 We were also treated to a session on how we perceive stars according to where they are in relation to us and each other. I am a bit hazy on the details because the group was quite large, and we split into two so that some could go to the Blackett Observatory while others stayed for the astrophotography, and I spent quite a bit of the evening ferrying people back and forth from the gallery to the observatory.
Here we are on arrival:

The Blackett Observatory is a wonderful place, only a short distance from the Mount House Gallery, quite high up behind the tennis courts and cricket pitches, it's an amazing place, run by Director of the observatory, Charles Barclay,  who guided us through the rules of looking effectively at the night sky as we sat in red light, designed to maximise our pupil size after 30 minutes and enable proper viewing.
This is what he put about our visit on the Blackett website:
'News - 21st January
External visit: Some 26 Friends of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery visited for a double evening combining a visit to 'In the Marlborough Night Garden' with Gavin James and then a trip to the Observatory. Sadly the sky had clouded and only the Moon occasionally got through the cloud. Before the groups came up the sky was clear and Comet Catalina had been located in the 10 inch and a drawing made showing it close to a 9th magnitude star in Draco, several degrees away from its position on Tuesday.'
 To find more about the splendid telescope and how you can have a look at it, then please click on the link to the Blackett website.
Apart from the general information about the telescope, we were given information about how climate change has affected the weather to such an extent that since September, there have been very view evenings when the sky has been clear enough to see the stars before about 2am.
We weren't allowed to photograph anything in the observatory, but I did manage a photo of the moon:
Thank you to all who made the visit such a successful event.



Saturday, 16 January 2016

Trip to Marlborough College Observatory

There are still a few places available on this trip, please email me to reserve a space: lindakasmaty@hotmail.com
We meet at 7.15 for a 7.30 start at the Mount House Gallery; 1. Look at the exhibition, 2. An informal talk from Gavin James followed by Q & A, 3.  A trip to the Blackett Observatory, this is a short walk from the gallery but transport will be available for anyone who needs a lift.
Here's more information on this trip:

Latest Information on Talks and Trips

If you click on the side bar where it says 'Talks and Trips' you can see the list, but the flyer Ray Ward has just produced is more informative and much more informative. It's still a bit difficult to read here; hard copies are available at the museum. Firstly the front cover with the summary of events
 Next information about our trip on Thursday 21 January to Marlborough, and the talk on Brightwen Binyon by the fascinating speaker, Michael Gray on Thursday 25 February:
 Then there's the talk by ceramics' collector, Mark Golder, on Thursday 31 March, illustrated by the fabulous Goathead Pot, and on Thursday 21 April, there's an Exhibition Opening evening for Friends only to the Eileen Cooper exhibition.
 Then we're very pleased to welcome Tim Hyman who's giving a talk on Thursday 28 April
 Then we're very pleased to welcome Eileen Cooper RA to talk about the exhibition which will be in the Main Gallery, tickets are on sale now to Friends, but not until 2.4.16 for those who are not members of the Friends.
 There's a trip to Roche Court on 16 May, bookings taken now, and last but by no means least, a talk by Lynne Derry on the Great Bustard, find out more from Lynne.
Phew, that's a long list. There are also free lunchtime talks at the museum, they will feature in a future blog piece.