News December 2018

News December 2018

5 Dec 2018 - 16:05 BY Vivienne Lester

FROM THE CHAIR   Dorothy Watson                                                                                 

After the spangles and jangles that abound over Christmas, the deep mid-winter months can seem rather drab.  However, we have organised a colourful variety of post-festive treats to take us into spring. You will find details of all of these in this newsletter. To start us off in style we have a trio of stimulating talks, two of which have been chosen by members.  Please do continue to share any ideas for future topics with Chris, our Programme Secretary.  

Have you ever wondered how an exhibition is created?  Who decides on a theme? How are objects sourced, transported, stored and finally hung? Does the artist have a say in the display?  There are some intriguing stories which lie behind the pulling together of shows and in conjunction with the Towner we are putting on a Special Day in February on this subject.

We also have day visits planned which I hope you will enjoy. Besides discovering new places they are a marvellous way to get to know your fellow members as you explore and compare thoughts. April sees a group of us heading for a Society holiday to Holland.  Plans are already afoot for our 2020 expedition, and your suggestions will be very welcome.

As I have mentioned before, sharing our love of the arts with others less able to do so is vital in these grant-starved times.  Thank you all so much for generously supporting the monthly raffles,  proceeds of which entirely go to support the development of arts education in our local area at both primary and secondary levels.  This season you have enabled Magic Lantern sessions at Hankham Primary School and Patricia, our Young Arts lead, is hoping to be able to offer sessions to other schools. We have also supported the Towner in running an after-school club for Bourne Primary School, and hope to match-fund our contribution from Society reserves with our raffle donations.  We are always interested to explore new ways of enabling young people to access the arts so do let us know if you have any ideas for future projects.

On behalf of the Committee may I wish you all a very happy 2019 and trust you will enjoy the treats in store.

FRONT OF HOUSE LUNCH PARTY Tricia Sneath                                                          

It was with some trepidation that I drove to Old Willingdon Road to attend the Thank You Lunch for the TASE volunteers. I was a very new volunteer, I didn’t know many people and I had only seen the committee from afar. Would anyone talk to me? My fears were totally unfounded. As soon as I went into Vivienne and David’s beautiful garden I was made to feel very welcome. I soon realised that being a volunteer of this incredible organisation was something very special.

The committee had worked very hard and although the sun didn’t shine we all had a delicious lunch in the garden and plenty of time pre-lunch to wander round and to meet other volunteers with a glass of something either alcoholic or non-alcoholic in our hands.

Personally I was so pleased to be able to put committee names to faces and I know that this will enhance my enjoyment when I am attending the TASE lectures. Everyone was so friendly and I am very pleased that in an extremely small way, by volunteering, I am able to contribute to the success of this amazing society.

LECTURE PROGRAMME               Chris Pulling           

This season our programme is themed around ‘Home & Away’. Information on monthly lectures is detailed on membership cards and also on The Arts Society Eastbourne website.

Part of programme planning is attending Directory Day, an opportunity to see existing and newly appointed lecturers who showcase their subject topics. During the day up to 110 lecturers will give abridged ‘taster’ lectures and over a further 100 lecturers will have stands. This gives the opportunity to discuss available lectures, which can be more individually styled, to include a particular theme or be of local interest.

When programme planning, we draw on a variety of areas, including the Directory Day; an extensive Directory of Lecturers; National Exhibitions and historical and cultural diversity. We also need your ideas to shape the programme.

CHURCH RECORDING        Sue de Angeli                                                        

St. John the Evangelist Church, Piddinghoe is now recorded and we await the checking process to be completed. Poking about in cupboards and dark places and finding items which have not seen the light of day for years, is enlightening!

The feedback from the Revd. Mary Sitwell (who lives opposite the church) at Piddinghoe is: “I am full of admiration for the professional jobs that you have clearly done in six churches, not least in St. John’s, where the initiative that you have taken has sparked a flame of activity, sadly lacking here for decades”. The Rector of Piddinghoe, the Revd. Tim Mills emailed our group and wrote: “My wardens (Margaret and Nicki) at St. Laurence, Telscombe (a church in the same Benefice), are jealous of Piddinghoe and the way the CR team have really helped the church so much. Been a real blessing. Thank the group once again for all you are doing”.

Many of our country churches were restored in the Victorian age with the new-found wealth from the Industrial Era. We may not always like the 19th century improvements or embellishments but without them, many churches would have fallen into a complete state of disrepair. Can you imagine the thrill of having electricity installed in the 1930s, following centuries of candles and lanterns? The fourteen memorial plaques to long dead villagers are filled with clues about the church’s history and its parish. These are particularly rewarding to research. One in the nave, north arcade, commemorates Nevile Gwyne Gwynne C.B.E. who lived at Dean’s Farm in Piddinghoe with his wife Isabel Violet. His family are closely related to the Gwynne’s at Folkington who include the famous cookery writer Elizabeth David and renowned musician Violet Kate Woodhouse who are buried at St. Peter ad Vincula. The poignancy of the Winton Family whose tablet is at the east end of the South Aisle, tells us that Francis and his wife Sarah, whom he married at Beddingham in  1790, had seven children, five of whom died in infancy. Not unusual in the late Georgian and early Victorian days.

Largely unseen in the church are two Bibles with inscriptions on the fly-leaf. One commemorates the Bonham family (Bonham’s Auctioneers in London). Further investigation reveals that another member of the same family, John Bonham, became the Keeper of Dulwich Picture Gallery. The other Bible once belonged to Charles Roden Filgate, born in 1849, the son of William Filgate of Lissrenny, Ireland and Sophia the eldest daughter of Count de Salis. Charles, a practising Barrister-at-Law, educated at Cheltenham College and the Inner Temple, was an amateur cricketer from 1869-1877 playing for Gloucestershire, the MCC and represented Ireland. His son, William Alexander Jerome Filgate (1908-1980) moved to Telscombe Cliffs at some point and Telscombe and Piddinghoe were united in 1876 which is probably why the Bible is in St. John’s.

Unless a church’s history leaflet contains detailed information about its contents, much remains a mystery.

VISITS PROGRAMME      Kate Liddiard                                                                               

On a sunny and very mild day in September, The Arts Society followed the Bloomsbury trail which included a guided visit to Charleston Farmhouse, guided tour of Berwick Church and Monks House. In 1916 the artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant came to live at Charleston. They were joined in due course by writers, painters and intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury Group.  The interior was painted by the artists Duncan and Vanessa and the collection throughout the house, forms a unique example of their style. Vanessa Bell was encouraged by her sister, the great writer Virginia Woolf, to move down to Sussex where she and her husband lived in Firle.  The Woolfs moved to Monks House in 1919 where her writing studio is set in the garden and is still arranged as if she is about to come back to work on her next novel. Various artists of the Bloomsbury Group were persuaded by the then incumbent vicar to paint sacred scenes for Berwick Church. These were painted on large canvases at Charleston and then fitted onto the walls of the church where they are to this day. 

FUTURE VISITS     Kate Liddiard                                                                                      

On Tuesday 23rd April 2019, Kate Liddiard is arranging a visit to Chichester with its lovely shops, cathedral and Pallant Art Gallery in the morning followed by a visit in the afternoon to Champs Hill.  Champs Hill is run by the Bowerman Charitable Trust and is open to groups rather than the general public to visit.  On our visit we will be seeing a selection of their major collection of paintings from the Newlyn School which will include besides others, paintings by Stanhope Forbes, Elizabeth Forbes and Walter Langley.  Contact Kate on 01323 647753 or so she can contact you nearer the time re timings and cost.


The next Special Interest Day will be held at the Towner Art Gallery on 26th February 2019. This Day will give us a further insight into how the Towner works. We are privileged to be having a lecture from Karen Taylor, Collection Curator and the curator of the block-buster exhibition ‘Ravilious and Co’. Also a tour of the current collections by Joe Hill, the new Director/Curator of the Towner, followed by lectures illustrated from items from the store on the Lyons lithographs and local artist, Harold Mockford.

YOUNG ARTS    Rosemary  Elliott

Pupils at Hankham Primary School, have been inspired in their art and topic studies by a visit from The Magic Lantern thanks to Young Arts sponsorship by The Arts Society Eastbourne. Patricia Ollivere (Young Arts Co-ordinator) and Rosemary Elliott from TASE observed the project in action as the Junior classrooms became a pop-up interactive gallery using images of famous artworks of paintings, sculptures, and artefacts from the British Museum and other international galleries, museums and heritage sites.  The children were able to look at and explore in detail the art/history of this term’s topics: Aztecs, Anglo Saxons and the Stone Age.

The children’s engagement and enjoyment of the sessions and the learning achieved as well as developing skills in visual observation, speaking and listening, self-confidence and critical thinking throughout the different age groups was obvious in the enthusiastic way they responded through the day. They were given the opportunity to dry-paint over the images, to investigate what paints, colours and materials the artists had used and how they were made, and to copy down patterns, details and shapes on their whiteboards. Through the art they learnt about the history and projected themselves back into the period re-enacting scenes in role-play and coming up with ideas to fill in speech and thought bubbles for what people in the pictures might be thinking or saying, and learnt that even in the Stone Age there were people whose job it was to make art. The children’s art is to be developed and exhibited following on from this Young Arts project day.

We are currently sponsoring the Towner Art Gallery running after-school clubs for children at the Bourne School and hopefully we will repeat the Magic Lantern next year as it was such a success.

The Towner is working with 65 Year 4 pupils running after- school clubs for a six week period, 4 sessions at the school and 2 at the Towner. It is principally a creative writing project in response to the current exhibition The Everyday and Extraordinary. The aim is to promote and support literacy development with the children, 70% of whom speak English as a second language. It is primarily poetry based. The children are also working with a film maker to produce a documentary of the process screened at the Towner Auditorium to which we were given invitations.

A printable version of this news letter is attached to the home page Eastbourne's TASE website



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