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

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Spooky Halloween Workshop

Children could make a spider bracelet, a mask and finger puppets at the workshop held on Halloween  last Wednesday. The spider bracelets were my favourite, perfect for trick or treating in the evening.
Here are a few photos:
 Above an example of a mask, not only were they coloured in, but children ahd to cut them out as well, and below here's a spooky spider
 and here's the overspill area where children and adults could do a bit of colouring in
 a general view of the workshop
 Aaron's spider
 My granddaughter's spider
 and Alex's spider
 Anyone wanting to help at future workshops, or volunteer at the museum should visit the website for contact details: or visit the museum in person asking to be put on the mailing list.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Half term Dinosaur workshop

What an exciting time it is when the children's workshops are held at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery during the holidays. The main gallery where the workshops are held is buzzing with people, and the atmosphere is really positive. Children absolutely love the activities, adults with them enjoy talking to each other, and those assisting have a great time as well. One boy was crying towards the end of the dinosaur workshop, when asked why, his mum said he didn't want to leave, he was having such a great time.
Here are a few photos taken during the dinosaur workshop:
As you can see from the photo above, it was popular, with children waiting in an overspill area, and also others completing the spooky trail. Below Claire with the materials for the workshop
Below there's child holding up their decorated dinosaur
And here's a flying pterodactyl ready to go
The use of scrunched up tissue paper of one colour was very effective
especially when there's a similar coloured feather on top of the dinosaur
and here's a green one
a couple of very bright dinosaurs below with 'eyes' being offered
another lovely pterodactyl
orange was a popular colour for dinosaurs

Threading cotton through the pterodactyls was a difficult job, especially since needles had to be blunt, presumably for health and safety reasons!
Probably the most beautifully decorated pterodactyl above.

Silver Jubilee AGM followed by talk by Jessy Price

We were very pleased to welcome a great audience to our silver jubilee AGM. It feels like a fantastic achievement that the Friends of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery have been in existence for the last 25 years. We are very lucky to have so many wonderfully supportive Friends, and such a talented committee. There are bound to be changes in committee members; this year we were very sorry to say goodbye to two members of the committee who have been with the Friends for many of those 25 years, Ray Ward and Paul Ricketts. We were very pleased to welcome Kathy Geddes and Erik Burnett-Godfree onto the committee, and to re-elect our other committee members. I'm hoping i can upload the Power Point presentation and the rest of the written material from the AGM onto the side bar on the right hand side where it says 2018 AGM.
It's hard to take photos and remember what happened after ensuring the AGM ran smoothly. Jessy Price followed the AGM with her research into witch trials carried out by the English East India Company in Bombay during the 1670s and 1680s. Her talk was wide ranging, considering witches, wizards and demons. Here are a few photos I took of Jessy during her talk:
 Above Jessy and below the title slide: 'Witches Foreign and domestic: English demonology in Restoration era Bombay'
 Probably a better photo of Jessy
Thank you to Jessy Price for a fascinating talk

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Free Lunchtime Talks and Events

These are held on Friday lunchtimes, starting at 12.30pm, they last for half an hour, and are often run by Curator Sophie Cummings.  The subject of the talk held last Friday, attended by approximately 20 people, was the Art & Conflict exhibition which looks at how artists have depicted peace and conflict in their art. Sophie picked out various paintings and talked about them, revealing interesting facts about the artists on the way.
 Above, Sophie began by talking to people about how the Swindon Collection was started, and then talked about the fact that the pink book published by Thamesdown Borough Council in 1991 has three sections, the first catalogues the most prestigious artists, then there's a second section for the less well thought of artists and finally a list of other artists and their artworks with no descriptions at the very end of the book. The painting below 'Tower Bridge, London- A War-time Nocturne by Sir Claude Francis Barry is included in the second part of the book, although now we think of it as a much loved work.
Below Sophie is looking at and talking about these two works by Ian Hamilton Finlay
There are lunchtime events for the next three Fridays:

Drop in Event Wiltshire WWI postcards from prisoners of war
Friday, 26 October | 12.30 pm - 2.30 pm
Join our curator to explore Swindon’s collection of Prisoner of War postcards. During World War I, many soldiers were held as prisoners of war at camps in Germany
Friday, 2 November | 12.30 pm - 1.00 pm
Join our curator for a free lunchtime tour of the new exhibition “Cicatrix”. Cicatrix is a contemporary art project incorporating drawing, films and installation. It explores the scars of World War I on the landscape, people and psyche of Wiltshire.

Friday, 9 November | 12.30 pm - 1.00 pm
Join our curator for a free lunchtime tour of our Art and Conflict exhibition. Discover how artists have depicted peace and conflict in their art while learning more about Swindon’s remarkable collection of modern British art.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Cicatrix Exhibition

The Cicatrix exhibition in the main gallery opened with a Private View on 13 October, this was followed by a Clark Holt sponsored evening a week later, and then there was an evening organised by the Friends when Katie Ackrill walked around the exhibition with artists Prudence Maltby, Susan Francis, Henny Burnett and Caro Williams
I took photos at each event which I'll share with you below.
 They're in chronological order, so we're starting with the PV where the wine was donated by the Australian High Commission
 There were speeches and lots of people
 It's almost possible to see the High Sheriff, Nicky Alberry in the blue dress talking with Sophie Cummings on her left as you look at the photo.
 And then there was the Clark Holt evening:
 Sophie and Jeremy Holt exchanging a few words
 before Sophie led the gathered people around the Cicatrix exhibition starting with Henny Burnett's 100 Wiltshire Towers
 and moving onto this large, expressive painting by Australian artist, Sophie Cape
 and then to Prudence Maltby's drawings
 and Catherine Farish's images of indigenous Canadian soldiers photographed before they came to train on Salisbury Plain.
Next photos taken at the Friends' talk the following week, strangely these are the best photos, if I'm allowed to say that. I hope people get this far!!!
 Above talking to Susan Francis about her film and the other things around it, and below talkign about the remarkable photos of indigenous Canadians wearing headresses
 another view of Prudence Maltby's drawings
 and I like this photo through the branches
 here's Caro Williamd explaining about her bird song installations
 and finally some time was spent explaining which pieces the artists had chosen to go on display on the grey wall from the Swindon Collection to accompany the Cicatrix exhibition. Caro Williams particularly likes the Captain Cook painting by Patrick Hayman, when he landed in New Zealand, the noise of the birds was so great, he had to sleep on the ship to escape the noise. Caro can be seen below talking about the painting.
If you haven't yet seen the exhibition, it's well worth a visit.
There's also a lovely reference to the exhibition on the council's website.

Visit from the Victoria Art Gallery Friends

Approximately 25 Friends of the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath visited Swindon Museum and Art Gallery on Monday 24 September, the morning started with coffee and cake, the remnants of which can be seen in the second photo. Curator Sophie Cummings began by explaining the history of the Swindon Collection and then talked about a few of the paintings in the current exhibition: 'Art and Conflict: works from the Swindon Collection'

 Sophie then  moved on to the Cicatrix exhibition. Cicatrix means scar of a healed wound and is a 'centenary project which reflects the story of Wiltshire during World War I'. It features work by artists Prudence Maltby, Susan Francis, Henny Burnet and Caro Williams
 Above Sophie is talking about the 100 Wiltshire Towers by Henny Burnett
 and then moved around the gallery
 talking about all the pieces. There are laminated information leaflets about  each artist and their work available in the gallery.
 Everyone then had about half an hour to wander round the gallery before being joined by 7 of our Friends at Jack's Bistro just round the corner form the museum.
 I took a few general photos
 which I've included in case people want to see themselves

We had a really enjoyable time and hope to arrange a reciprocal visit before long. I'm meeting Fiona Pollard, events organiser of the Friends and Chair of the Friends of the Victoria Art Gallery next week so hope to come up with a date soon.