Saturday 29 October 2016

Today's the day....

We're just off to Brixton for a day at the fantastic new collective Gida - part of our competition for new patterns for Africa's headwrap. More here

Saturday 22 October 2016

Photos from an album

Very interested to see these photocopied pages at the Stanley Spencer museum in Cookham - pages from a notebook. The book itself (below) is in a case and far too precious to be handled, but simple photocopies on a large board are a good way of presenting what's inside.
We'll be showcasing a similar small book at our exhibition at the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro in Heart of Conflict - it's an autograph album kept by a nurse at Scorrier Auxiliary Hospital near Redruth.
 Love the paintbrushes - they really make things come alive.

Friday 21 October 2016

Lunchtime session in Truro on Heart of Conflict research

Always a pleasure to visit Richard Lander School in Truro - you tell how good a school is the moment you step in the door (something about the atmosphere) and this school is excellent.
The students report back on research that they've done on the World War 1 autograph album that we're featuring in Heart of Conflict - our exhibition opening at the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, in December.  Was very impressed that they gave up part of their lunchbreak to do this - and they hadn't even had lunch yet!  They're preparing an assembly for the week of Remembrance Day.
They're a credit to their teacher Julia Brindley who has been encouraging and supporting this project.

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Free art event in Brixton on Saturday 29 October

As part of Black History Month we’re teaming up on Saturday 29 October with the fantastic new "GIDA COLLECTIVE" store in Brixton for a fun, art oriented day - 12 noon to 6pm.

Show us your creative side and come up with youe own pattern for a head-wrap that somehow reflects your life living in Britain today. All drawing and painting materials will be provided FREE OF CHARGE.  This is part of our "I'm Still Here Head Wrap Competition" - more about that here.

The closing date is 31 October 2016 - so you'll still have time if you don't complete it on the day.

The winning design will be printed and sold in selected retail outlets.

Please download and complete the entry form – just click here 

Good Luck and we look forward to meeting you!
Gida is at 55 Loughborough Road, Fiveways, Brixton, London,SW9 7TB

Call 0203 583 6387 or email: for more information.

Wednesday 12 October 2016

No Man's Land

Another masterpiece of World War One art at the Tate - No Man's Land by Charles Sargeant Jagger.
Jagger also created the famous statue at Paddington - more about that here... and here.

Monday 10 October 2016

Men as Machines - World War One

Not  planned - but have recently come across various examples of World War One art.
I'd seen Christopher Nevinson's painting La Mitrailleuse at the Tate before - but forgotten how dark and powerful it is. The men's eyes are hidden. They've become machines.
I also didn't realise that Nevinson had worked as an ambulance driver on the Front until ill health put a stop to that.

We're featuring men from the Royal Army Medical Corps in our exhibition, Heart of Conflict opening at the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, in December.

La Mitrailleuse was very highly praised at the time. Fellow artist Walter Sickert said the painting 'will probably remain the most authoritative and concentrated utterance on the war in the history of painting.' However  - Nevinson didn't think so. His later paintings of WW1 are far more realistic. He thought he had to tell the 'truth'.  Odd to say now that these later paintings are more graphic in a way - but lack the power of the abstract or Cubist La Mitrailleuse. I'm no fan of Cubism but it seems true in this case.

Thursday 6 October 2016

In search of Miss W M Bennett

Good to see this piece in the Cornishman - we're trying to track down information about Miss W M Bennett who lived in Penzance, Cornwall, during World War 1 as part of our work on Heart of Conflict. Click here to read the article.

We're hoping some relatives or descendants will read the article.

Photo by A.W. Jordan/courtesy of the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro.

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Unveiling Cookham War Memorial

Still on World War One and related topics - Stanley Spencer famously painted the unveiling of the war memorial in his village, Cookham.  This was particularly poignant for him as his adored brother was one of the names engraved on it.
Notably - in his painting, he fails to include the military personnel or the grieving families who were present at the ceremony (as a photo from the time shows).

Tuesday 4 October 2016

Artist Stanley Spencer and the Royal Army Medical Corps

Had forgotten that artist Stanley Spencer had served in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) in World War One (we're still working on background for our exhibition Heart of Conflict and a number of stories we feature involve men who worked in the RAMC).  His paintings and watercolours give a vivid impression of what it was like to work as a stretcher bearer.  Here mules are bringing the wounded into a dressing station in Macedonia.  Something about the limpness of the bodies on the stretchers is chilling.

Monday 3 October 2016

Memoirs of an Infantry Officer

After so much work researching World War One and looking at photographs - it's a revelation to read writing about the war - Memoirs of an Infantry Officer by Siegfried Sassoon. It's not quite fiction, and not quite a straight autobiography (he wrote it several years after the war).

But some of his observations are chilling. This for example of a night in the hospital with a mortally wounded man in the bed opposite (shielded by screens) after the carnage at Mametz wood.

"Someone called Dicky was on his mind, and he kept crying out to Dicky. 'Don't go out, Dicky, they snipe like hell!' And then. 'Curse the Wood.... Dicky, you fool, don't go out!'....All the horror of the Somme attacks was in that raving; all the darkness and the dreadful daylight...."

Earlier he comments on press coverage at the time:

"A London editor driving along the road in a staff car would have remarked that the spirit of the troops was amazing. And so it was. But somehow the newspaper men always kept the horrifying realities of the War out of their articles, for it was unpatriotic to be bitter, and the dead were assumed to be gloriously happy."

Sunday 2 October 2016

No reason to stay ashore...

"The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore." Vincent Van Gogh.

A great quote from Van Gogh to start this Sunday.

These fishermen (photo from the Royal Cornwall Museum) were from Porthleven and all over 70 when they took to sea in World War One due to a shortage of local men.

More about Cornwall during WW1 in our exhibition Heart of Conflict at the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro, opening in December 2016.

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