Ancient Landscapes Portrayed

‘British Art: Ancient Landscapes’, The Salisbury Museum, The King’s House, 65 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EN, until 3rd September 2017

Alan Sorrell (1904–1974)
Sunrise Over Stonehenge
Watercolour on Paper
The Salisbury Museum

I am really grateful to Professor Sam Smiles (Emeritus Professor of Art History at the University of Plymouth) for his deep interest in archaeology and the history of art because they are engagingly combined in this important show. There is an accompanying catalogue by him too.

Eric Ravilious (1903-1942)
The Long Man of Wilmington,1939
Watercolour
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Prehistory in this country is celebrated in works from the 18th century onwards to the present time. Views of Stonehenge by Thomas Hearne, Charles Marshall, Constable, Turner, Henry Moore and Henry McKnight Kauffer are found among other archaeological sites both in Wiltshire and elsewhere. William Blake, John Piper, Barbara Hepworth and Derek Jarman are among the other artists you will experience in this hugely enjoyable exhibition.

Horace Brodzky (1885-1969)
Stonehenge, 1919
Linocut

The Museum’s Marketing Officer Louise Tunnard says: “We are so fortunate to live alongside the ancient landscapes that inspired these wonderful artists, and which remain relatively unchanged since pre historic times. I am hoping that we will inspire visitors to the exhibition to walk these landscapes too and discover their enduring appeal.” I am sure that they will!

J M W Turner (1775-1851)
Stonehenge c, 1827-28
Watercolour
The Salisbury Museum

 

http://www.salisburymuseum.org.uk/

‘The Great Salisbury’

Constable in Context: Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows in perspective, The Salisbury Museum, The King’s House, 65 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EN, until 25th March 2017

 

Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, 1831 John Constable (1776 - 1837) © Tate, London 2013 Purchased with assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Manton Foundation, Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation) and Tate Members

Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, 1831
John Constable (1776 – 1837) © Tate, London 2013 Purchased with assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Manton Foundation, Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation) and Tate Members

John Constable called this painting ‘The Great Salisbury’ and also wrote ‘I am told I got it to look better than anything I have yet done.’ Well, I certainly am not going to disagree with him there. It was secured for the Nation by the Tate through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), The Manton Foundation, the Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation) and Tate Members and will tour the UK as part of ‘Aspire’.

The City & Cathedral of Salisbury from Harnham Hill, 1955 Lord Methuen © The Salisbury Museum

The City & Cathedral of Salisbury from Harnham Hill, 1955
Lord Methuen © The Salisbury Museum

One of his ‘six footer’ canvases it is a tour-de-force and its radical style was a turning point for many artists who copied Constable’s “expressive” style for architectural subjects. The Museum in this fascinating exhibition has made the painting the centrepiece of a show which focuses on images of the Cathedral from the 17th century up to this century, including works by Henrick de Cort, Frederick Nash, Frederick MacKenzie and JMW Turner.

West Front of Salisbury Cathedral, 1900 Albert Goodwin © The Salisbury Museum

West Front of Salisbury Cathedral, 1900
Albert Goodwin © The Salisbury Museum

The Museum’s Marketing Officer, Louise Tunnard, sums it up well saying: “Salisbury Cathedral is one of the most significant and memorable buildings in England – so many of us have direct memories of this building that will always be treasured. Just in the same way that you never forget your first view of the sea, people do not tend to forget their first view of the Cathedral. The impact this building has had on artists and their subsequent urge to record it for posterity, has provided us with an amazing record of the building over time.

The irony is that as human beings, having seen something we then tend to stop looking closely at it, but I hope this exhibition will encourage residents of Salisbury and visitors alike, to really look at the Cathedral building and see how lucky we are to live and work alongside such a wonderful structure.”

Salisbury Cathedral from the West, 1671 Wesceslaus Hollar © The Salisbury Museum

Salisbury Cathedral from the West, 1671
Wesceslaus Hollar © The Salisbury Museum

I couldn’t agree more. The Cathedral is such a special place and whenever I go to Salisbury it is the first place I visit to wonder and marvel anew.  Constable obviously felt the same way too – thank goodness!

Kate Giles and her painting after John Constable. Courtesy of Salisbury Museum

Kate Giles and her painting after John Constable.
Courtesy of Salisbury Museum

http://www.salisburymuseum.org.uk/

http://www.tate.org.uk

BOOK REVIEW: CECIL BEATON AT HOME: AN INTERIOR LIFE

CECIL BEATON AT HOME: AN INTERIOR LIFE

By Andrew Ginger, Foreword by Hugo Vickers

Rizzoli New York
PRICE: £50.00
ISBN: 978-0-8478-4877-5
: © Cecil Beaton at Home: An Interior Life by Andrew Ginger, Rizzoli New York, 2016

: © Cecil Beaton at Home: An Interior Life by Andrew Ginger, Rizzoli New York, 2016

 

I was fortunate enough to meet the author Andrew Ginger at the two exhibitions he curated around the theme of ‘Cecil Beaton At Home’ at Salisbury Museum and Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler in 2014. They were excellent shows and it was remarkable to see objects and paintings from Beaton’s homes.

View of the dining room, Ashcombe 1935. The curtains were of an orange-and-yellow striped silk © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

View of the dining room, Ashcombe 1935. The curtains were of an orange-and-yellow striped silk
© The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

Now thanks to Andrew’s continued enthusiasm and dedication to the fascinating subject of Cecil Beaton in his own homes we have this hugely enjoyable and well-researched book which is copiously illustrated bringing the houses, Beaton, his friends and loves to life.

The drawing room at 8 Pelham Place, 1962. Combining two rooms into one created a single salon of 31’ 1” by 15’ 2” © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

The drawing room at 8 Pelham Place, 1962. Combining two rooms into one created a single salon of 31’ 1” by 15’ 2”
© The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

The name Cecil Beaton is well-known to many for he was multi-talented – a celebrated photographer, costume and set designer, playwright and designer of fabrics – but he was also as this book amply proves a good interior decorator creating beautiful, striking rooms, whether in his homes or the New York hotel suites he decorated and was allowed to stay in at a discounted rate.

 

The and Winter Garden at Reddish House, painted left-handed by Cecil after his stroke, 1979 photograph by James McMillan, (copyright for CB artwork to National Portrait Gallery, London)

The and Winter Garden at Reddish House, painted left-handed by Cecil after his stroke, 1979
photograph by James McMillan, (copyright for CB artwork to National Portrait Gallery, London)

The book rightly focuses on Beaton’s two Wiltshire homes – Ashcombe House and Reddish House – with their remarkable and sometimes eccentric interiors which I would so loved to have seen but thanks to this book I at least can enjoy them, especially that beautiful Edwardian-influenced drawing room at Reddish.

The drawing room at Reddish House, painted by Cecil Beaton, Christmas 1955 photograph by James McMillan, collection of Stiles Tuttle Colwill

The drawing room at Reddish House, painted by Cecil Beaton, Christmas 1955
photograph by James McMillan, collection of Stiles Tuttle Colwill

There have been many marvellous books on Cecil Beaton but to me this book is the best as I believe people’s homes reveal them and Beaton certainly comes to life through the pages of this book. Wonderful!

The last portrait of Cecil, looking through his last fashion spread for Vogue in the library at Reddish House, September 4, 1979 copyright Lee Higham, Assistant, 1979

The last portrait of Cecil, looking through his last fashion spread for Vogue in the library at Reddish House, September 4, 1979
copyright Lee Higham, Assistant, 1979

www.rizzoliusa.com

‘A Poetic Eye’

John Craxton ‘A Poetic Eye: A life in art from Cranborne Chase to Crete’, Salisbury Museum, The King’s House, 65 The Close, Salisbury SP1, until 7th May 2016

John Craxton working on Pastoral for P.W., 1948 Photograph by Felix Man

John Craxton working on Pastoral for P.W., 1948
Photograph by Felix Man

Curated by Ian Collins, Craxton’s art executor, the exhibition tells the story of this exciting artist, a friend of Freud, whose work developed from the dark, brooding paintings and drawings he created during the war period on Cranborne Chase to the bright works that celebrated his love of Crete and the way of life there. It is a revelatory and well-deserved remembrance of a talented and characterful artist.

 

http://www.salisburymuseum.org.uk

John Hinchcliffe – a Celebration

John Hinchcliffe – ‘The Definitive Works of a Decorative Artist’, The Salisbury Museum, The Kings House, 65 The Close, Salisbury, Wiltshire, until 16th January 2016.

'June' reproduced by kind permission of Wendy Barber

‘June’
reproduced by kind permission of Wendy Barber

John Hinchcliffe (1949-2010) was a multi-talented man whose very individual style marked his weaving, ceramics and pictures and many of these reflect his love for nature and the rural such as is found in his lino-prints but equally so in his ceramics and textiles.  Indeed much of his work between 1986 and 1991 was done at his Sixpenny Handley studio some fourteen miles from Salisbury.

Hypericum Plate © John Hinchcliffe Estate, Photography by Jac Arnold

Hypericum Plate
© John Hinchcliffe Estate, Photography by Jac Arnold

The exhibition reveals his love of colour and experimentation in all the aspects of his work and is a visual feast through which we learn much about the artist.  It is aptly summed up by Kim van Rensburg, the museum’s exhibitions officer who said ‘These exhibits illustrate just how Hinchcliffe’s fascination with materials and surface decoration consistently challenged him, leading him to push both at the boundaries of making and use of materials.’

 

Co-curators: Wendy Barber (Hinchcliffe’s wife and design partner) and Jac Arnold

Consultant: Professor Simon Olding

 

 

http://www.salisburymuseum.org.uk

http://www.johnhinchcliffe.co.uk

Turner in Salisbury

Turner’s Wessex – Architecture and Ambition, The Salisbury Museum, The King’s House, 65 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EN, until 27th September 2015

Salisbury from Old Sarum c.1827-1828 Watercolour JMW Turner © The Salisbury Museum

Salisbury from Old Sarum c.1827-1828 Watercolour JMW Turner
© The Salisbury Museum

This hugely enjoyable exhibition serves as a timely reminder that there are some very fine exhibitions to be found outside London. Combine Salisbury and the young J MW Turner and the results are quite magical. As well as works from the Museum’s own collection there are loans from Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, British Museum, Fitzwilliam Museum, National Galleries Scotland, V & A, Whitworth Art Gallery and the Tate.

A series of watercolours, executed between 1797 and 1805, depicting both the Cathedral and City were commissioned by Sir Richard Colt Hoare and the eight large ones of the cathedral which used to hang in the library of Colt Hoare’s family home Stourhead are reunited for the first time since their sale in 1883. There are also some studies of the famous Stourhead gardens too.

North Porch of Salisbury Cathedral, Exhibited RA 1797 Watercolour JMW Turner © The Salisbury Museum

North Porch of Salisbury Cathedral, Exhibited RA 1797 Watercolour JMW Turner
© The Salisbury Museum

Another Wiltshire landowner was William Beckford and his commission for Turner to depict his Fonthill estate was also a feather in Turner’s cap. The sketches he created provide a fascinating glimpse into the erection of the famous Fonthill tower which would collapse in 1825.

Stonehenge c.1827-29 Watercolour JMW Turner © The Salisbury Museum

Stonehenge c.1827-29 Watercolour JMW Turner
© The Salisbury Museum

Turner’s first visit to Salisbury was in 1795 and he would return to the area occasionally over the next thirty years – to Stonehenge as well as to the Isle of Wight and the southern coast – and these visits are recorded in the last section of an exhibition I have no hesitation in recommending.

http://www.salisburymuseum.org.uk

Cecil Beaton at Home: Ashcombe & Reddish, Salisbury Museum

Cecil Beaton at Home: Ashcombe & Reddish, Salisbury Museum, Salisbury, until 19th September 2014)

Cecil Beaton on the front steps of Reddish House, Broad Chalke, June 1947, Reddish © Cecil Beaton Archive, Sotheby’s

Cecil Beaton on the front steps of Reddish House, Broad Chalke, June 1947, Reddish © Cecil Beaton Archive, Sotheby’s

 This really is a fascinating and revelatory exhibition as it takes us into Beaton’s private world and looks at his two homes in Wiltshire and his life there. In both homes there is a sense of theatricality whether the beautifully evoked Circus Room (Ashcombe) recreated here, or in the more formal elements of the Reddish Drawing Room that have been reunited once more.

Dorian Leigh photographed for ‘Modess... because’ campaign, Reddish House, Broad Chalke, 1950s, Reddish, © Johnson & Johnson

Dorian Leigh photographed for ‘Modess… because’ campaign, Reddish House, Broad Chalke, 1950s, Reddish, © Johnson & Johnson

  Cecil Beaton in his first costume of the night for the Fete Champetre, in his Circus bedroom, 10 July 1937, Ashcombe © Getty Images/ Time Life

Cecil Beaton in his first costume of the night for the Fete Champetre, in his Circus bedroom, 10 July 1937, Ashcombe © Getty Images/ Time Life

It is fortunate that curator Andrew Ginger is Director of Beaudesert Ltd and The Cecil Beaton Fabric Collection since it has meant that the special chintz for the Reddish Drawing Room once more covers the sofa, which Garbo sat on when she visited Beaton. Beaudesert Ltd was also responsible for the recreation of the “Circus Bed”.

Beaton’s certain eye for detail and composition both in his homes and his various costume designs and film and theatre sets has meant that he is still a source of inspiration and study for young designers.

Frontispiece montage for Cecil Beaton’s Scrapbook, 1937, Ashcombe © Private Collection

Frontispiece montage for Cecil Beaton’s Scrapbook, 1937, Ashcombe © Private Collection

However it is just not the physical settings that are considered there are his relationships with his mother Esther, secretary Eileen Hose as well as his love life -, his friendship with Greta Garbo and with the younger American academic Kin Hoitsma. Scrapbooks recall the numerous visitors who enjoyed his hospitality over the years. His skill as a painter is not ignored either with portraits of local children which he gave to their families. There are interior sketches of Reddish which he did with his left hand following his stroke.

Ashcombe House, by Rex Whistler, 1930s, Ashcombe © Private Collection

Ashcombe House, by Rex Whistler, 1930s, Ashcombe © Private Collection

This is a really all-encompassing look at Beaton’s country life in all its facets and it has certainly made me rethink my perception of him in a much warmer way. Do listen to the recollections of his local neighbours on the telephone. I also think it is wonderful that the Drawing Room curtains he gave to the villagers and which are used in the Village hall survive so well to this day, surely a tribute to him?

 

Portrait of Cecil Beaton by Henry Lamb, 1935 © Private Collection

Portrait of Cecil Beaton by Henry Lamb, 1935 © Private Collection

Generously supported by The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s, The Aldama Foundation, Quilter Cheviot, Savills, Sotheby’s, The Salisbury Area Board, The South West Area Board and other generous benefactors.

 

Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum, The Kings House, 65 The Close, Salisbury, SP1 2EN
01722 332151, www.salisburymuseum.org.uk

Opening times

Monday – Saturday, including bank holidays 10am – 5pm; Sundays (during June – September) 12noon – 5pm