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Saturday, 18 August 2018

Unveiling a New Painting and Celebrating 25 years

Sophie Cummings, Curator at the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery contacted the Friends recently and asked if we would consider donating towards the purchase of an interesting Harold Dearden painting. We were pleased we could help with the purchase, and when the painting arrived, Sophie asked if we would like to hold an unveiling to celebrate the new addition to the Swindon Collection of Art.
We already have several Harold Dearden paintings in the collection because Harold Dearden was quite a presence in the town, this is what it says on the Sulis Fine Art website about him:
'Harold Dearden studied at the Rochdale School of Art under H. Barrett Carpenter from 1905-1910, then at the Royal College of Art, London under Gerald Moira. He was head of the Swindon Art School for over 30 years. His work is in the Museum of London and the Swindon Art Gallery.'
We held the unveiling on Thursday 16 August from 5.30-6.30pm toasting the painting while Sophie gave a short talk about interesting aspects of the painting.
 Above Stef Vincent kindly removed the cloth revealing the painting, and then Sophie pointed out that since the scene depicted Regent Circus in 1945, it gives us a fascinating snapshot of Swindon at that time.
 There was a good crowd in attendance
 and a slightly different angle including Stef and Erik Burnett-Godfree
 After Sophie's talk, we held a short commemoration of 25 years since the Friends were formed. I'd photocopied some pages from the first Journal which recorded what our Patron, Desmond Morris, had said about the art gallery being too small to host traveling exhibitions. Erik was the only person present last Thursday who admitted to being there 25 years ago, so I asked him to read out what was said in the Journal and talk about what he could remember of that night in 1993.
That was followed by a short update on future plans by Rod Hebden, Director of the Trust, who asked if people would kindly make their suggestions about where the museum and art gallery should be situated known to him via the various links on this link by 27 August. This is the consultation part of the options appraisal, so it's important people have their say.
The Harold Dearden painting was very well received by those present, and for those who weren't, it will appear in the next exhibition in the gallery which opens on 12 September, here's a photo of the painting:
Yes it's a rainy day in post war Swindon with a good feel for what it might have been like.

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