Become a Friend of the Swindon Museumand Art Gallery

For only £15 a year, you can become a Friend and receive links to our Zoom talks. To become a Friend or find out more about us, go to the website

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Pruning and planting at the front of the museum

On Sunday 8 October, some of the Friends' committee, museum staff and local councillors met up and spent 4 hours pruning back the hedge between the museum and Chatsworth House, planting the 2 beds with perennials and trying to weed the mound where there's a huge tree stump. The photos give an idea of what went on, if anyone else has better ones, please send them to me.
Here are Councillors Nadine Watts and Jane Milner-Barry chatting over leaf collecting:

  Some of the plants selected by Rosemary and myself to provide good displays over the next months we hope
 Below Tracy White clearing up the mound
 Rod Hebden and Martin Newman starting on the hedge
 Rosemary planting up the bed beneath the tree
 Planting in progress on the other bed
 Rod beginning to put laurel clippings into black bags
 The view from the museum we couldn't see before
 A tea break
 More bag filling
 The extra car park and view when clippings had been removed
 Jane hard at work on the mound area where we found a wall made of fossil rich rocks

 Close ups of the beds when we'd finished
That is only the beginning of improvements to the outside area, we will be doing more sessions.
I didn't get any photos of the amazing cakes made by Olive Tree Cafe and brought round by Nicky Alberry who had been showing the model to people at a Christ Church #BacktheBid event.
I would also like to thank the gentleman who kindly offered Heucheras, Penstemon and Rudbeckias from his garden; I went round to collect them the next day, and they will be planted as soon as I am confident that they have rooted properly.

Fabulous #BacktheBid evening at Rabley Drawing Centre

At the beginning of October, Meryl Ainslie of the wonderful Rabley Drawing Centre was kind enough to host an evening to spread the word about the plans for the fabulous new museum and art gallery in the centre of Swindon town.
The model of the proposed building was shown to a packed room, here's Meryl introducing the evening
 And then Chair of the Trust, Robert Hiscox talking about his passion for the project and why he's been involved
 a close up of the planned building
 Rather a poor photo of Jason Parker, from Make architects who's designed the new iconic building.
Dr Rod Hebden, director of the project also spoke about the plans and progress so far with the bid.
An excellent write up of the evening with some great photos appears on the Rabley blog
along with links to the bid:
Sign up here to back the bid!
Read more about Make Architects design proposal
Follow the New Swindon Museum and Gallery Facebook page

The Blind Spot - Exhibition and Talk by Cathy Lomax

I was drawn to this exhibition with its focus on 1950s Hollywood glamour icons; my earliest memories are of my mother sitting at a dressing table, not to be disturbed, looking not unlike some of these women. I was particularly drawn to the brittle quality of the cardboard cutouts in the glass case. Cathy calls them' flattened people defined by their surfaces'
 I've taken a few close ups, the one below is entitled 'Mrs Stone Reflects 1' a work inspired by Vivien Leigh in the film, The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone.
 The next two cut outs are titled 'Identity Crisis' and feature Jayne Mansfield seen below and
 Tippi Heden seen below here
 The one below is entitled 'Switchback' and shows four views of Diana Dors.
Here are a few more of Cathy's paintings:
 The one below is titled 'Show Girl'

Below is The Merry Maidens series inspired by a neolithic stone circle on the road to Lands End which is said to represent 19 maidens who were turned to stone for dancing on a Sunday. Images of the women have come from a wide range of sources, they have been given names from the most popular baby names.
 This painting is called 'Static Electricity'
 This painting called 'Adors' is the partner painting of 'Black Venus', the painting that won the Contemporary British Painting Prize. It's of a bronze head is modelled on the portrait bust of Diana Dors by Enid Mitchell.
Our September talk was Cathy talking about her exhibition, methods of working and her inspiration.
It was intriguing to hear her talking about her fascination with the world of 1950s glamour film stars, and reflecting on the fact that in many ways things haven't changed that much in the way women are depicted in film.
 Above Cathy just before the talk, and below talking about images she takes from films she watches which might make it to the painting stage
 The painting below depicts tights on women in the universal shade of American Tan, very popular at one time:
 And here is the Merry Maidens stone circle in Cornwall which inspired the 19 portraits
A great exhibition and fascinating talk, more on Cathy Lomax here: