The following lectures were presented during 2016
The following visits were made during 2016
Dr Scott Anderson will examine the highpoint of Art Nouveau: the 1900 International Exhibition in Paris. He will discuss the Art Nouveau movement in France, with particular emphasis on the role of Nancy, in Lorraine, as a centre for art and architecture in the period. Artists Emile Galle and Louis Majorelle were founder members in 1901 of the Ecole de Nancy working predominately in the Art Nouveau style. The Musee des Beaux Arts houses around 600 examples of the French crystal manufacturer, Daum and The Excelsior restaurant designed by Lucien Weissenburger, with stained glass windows by Jacques Gruber, is one of the outstanding Art Nouveau buildings to be found there.
Dr Anderson, architectural and design historian, has been a senior lecturer at Southampton Solent University since 1994, lecturing in Fine Arts Valuation. Prior to this, he worked as a professional archaeologist before his interests shifted to the world of art, antiques and auctioneering.
Marie Stillman (1844-1927), an exhibition of whose work opens at the Watts Gallery on 1 March, was one of the most productive women artists associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement, yet her name has dropped from view. Alongside Joanna Boyce Wells, Evelyn de Morgan and Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale, she had a long exhibiting career from the 1860s to 1920, travelled extensively in Britain, Italy and the USA, spent her later years living near Frimley and lies buried in Brookwood cemetery.
Jan Marsh, co-curator of the exhibition and author of several books including Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood, The Legend of Elizabeth Siddal and Christina Rossetti: A Literary Biography, will examine the place women artists occupied in the movement, and consider their claim to historical significance.
This talk looks at the career of the leading Arts and Crafts architect and designer Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott (1865-1945), including his work in Surrey. In addition, Peter will be talking about his ongoing search to identify previously unknown Baillie Scott buildings.
Peter Longworth’s interest in the Arts and Crafts movement started 30 years ago and with a particular interest in the designs of Baillie Scott he has visited a number of the houses and created a large photographic record of the architect’s work. He and his wife, Jackie, are working on a definitive catalogue of that work. They are currently in the process of setting up a Baillie Scott website to collect and disseminate information about the architect and his work
The Arts & Crafts Society of Ireland was initiated in Dublin in 1894 during a period of ideologically motivated national romanticism throughout what was then the United Kingdom. It emulated the example of William Morris and the achievements of the English Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society. Reviving small local industries and encouraging emerging artist/craftsmen and women to master traditional skills within a modern, specifically Irish idiom, it played a key role in visualizing the ideals of the emerging Irish Free State established in 1922.
Dr. Nicola Gordon Bowe is Associate Fellow at the Faculty of Visual Culture, National College of Art and Design in Dublin. She has published and lectured widely on aspects of the early twentieth century Arts and Crafts Movement and the Celtic Revival and on the revival of stained glass as an art form, including Harry Clarke: The Life and Work, and Wilhelmina Geddes. Life and Work. She is currently preparing a book on the role of the Arts & Crafts movement in the visual expression of the early 20th century Celtic Revival in Ireland.
In Glasgow, it was Charles Rennie Mackintosh who responded most immediately to the influence of Japan. We know that Mackintosh never travelled to Japan, so who, or what, stimulated his interest in what might be recognised as the Japanese style? The talk will explore a number of potential sources underlying Mackintosh’s work, in particular, during the completion of the Glasgow School of Art. Was it his German friend, Hermann Muthesius; Glasgow’s Japanese connections; or possibly a medieval Scottish Castle and a certain building in Chelsea? A thought provoking discussion is on offer.
Dr Neil Jackson, Professor of Architecture at the University of Liverpool in London, will discuss how the opening up of Japan in the mid-nineteenth century led to a Western enlightenment, possibly unequalled since the Renaissance, and demonstrated by several American architects and designers.
Sir Ambrose Heal (1872-1959) – furniture designer, manufacturer, and retailer - established the reputation for good design for which the Heal’s furnishing business in London is still known, making distinctive, well-made, reasonably priced furniture. He was in effect the link between the largely unrealised 19th century ideals of William Morris and the basic Utility furniture introduced by Sir Gordon Russell during World War Two. Heal’s became known for advanced employment policies when many retailers were still living in the Victorian era. In his private life he devoted himself to collecting information about trade in 18th century London, to travelling extensively and pursuing a number of affairs outside his marriage.
Dr Oliver Heal is a historian and furniture restorer. He has spent many years researching the work of his grandfather, Sir Ambrose Heal, and this was published as a major reference work in 2014. He has given many talks on the subject including one at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2015. He worked at Heal’s for thirteen years and was the last family member to be chairman before the company was taken over in 1983. Subsequently he worked in the furnishing-fabric trade in Germany and France before studying for a furniture conservation and restoration degree at High Wycombe.
A few copies of Sir Ambrose Heal and the Heal Cabinet Factory 1897-1939 will be available on the night at the special price of £50 (normally £58) which the author will be happy to sign
Thursday 2 June 2016 19:30 prompt
The meeting will be chaired by the Vice Chairman, Merilyn Spier. Three Main Committee members retire this year, all of whom have indicated their willingness to stand for re-election. As you will read, in the Annual Report, the Society seeks a new Chairman and we welcome suggestions. We invite members to consider joining the Main Committee or one of the several sub-committees - new ideas and a wide range of skills are always welcome. There are smaller tasks, research or projects with which you might wish to become involved, or there are specific roles for any members interested in helping with running the Society, such as Minutes Secretary, or Membership Secretary, or Events Secretary.
Refreshments will be served from 7.00pm
Following the AGM proceedings a lecture by Peter Andrews Ver Sacrum – The Vienna Secession. In 1897 a group of young Viennese artists broke away from the established arts organisations in Vienna to form a new group, known as the Vienna Secession. In this illustrated lecture, Peter Andrews discusses the reasons for the break and examines the work and careers of the artists, architects and designers concerned, including their leader, the colourful and charismatic Gustav Klimt.
Peter Andrews has been a member of ACMS since 2001. He was a member of the Events Committee for several years including three years as chairman. After a successful career in the civil service Peter took early retirement to work with arts organisations, mainly in the field of music. He holds a degree in Opera Studies from the University of Manchester.
Thursday 14 April 2016 10:30 – 15:00
This event will provide an opportunity for members to view a collection of architectural features rescued by Charles Brooking and now on display at Cranleigh. The exhibition is arranged in chronological order and is an Aladdin’s cave of treasures - there are windows, doors, stained glass, sections of staircases, balusters, fire grates, rainwater heads, together with door and window ironmongery and sample lengths of architrave and skirting mouldings. The emphasis of this collection is the Surrey vernacular and the Arts and Crafts Movement and includes items designed by Norman Shaw, Sir Edwin Lutyens, CFA Voysey, Thackeray Turner and Henry Woodyer. Charles will guide members around the display explaining the history and function of the artefacts.
We will next visit Longhurst Lodge, a Victorian gate lodge nestled on the boundaries of the Baynards Park country estate. The owners bought the Lodge as a derelict grade II listed building in 2008 and have spent seven years restoring and extending the original gothic architecture by Thomas Rickman. It had been left empty for more than 50 years. Channel 4’s show The Restoration Man, presented by George Clark, tracked the progress of the rebuild from April 2011. The owners completed all the work themselves and moved into the property from a small caravan in the garden. They now live there with 5 cats, two Gloucester pigs and more than 20 chickens.
In the afternoon we will view parts of Snowdenham Hall, a Grade II listed mansion designed by the architect Ralph Neville in 1886 for a member of the Courage brewing family. The house subsequently changed hands in the 1930's when it was purchased by an Indian prince who used the mansion to entertain guests for the Silver Jubilee celebrations of King George V. At the heart of the house is a double height, vaulted great hall decorated by John Bentley, the architect for Westminster Cathedral. It features a magnificent oriel window with stained glass panel. The mansion was converted by Michael Wilson Restorations into 7 magnificent apartments and is set in beautiful parkland grounds.
Tuesday 12 July 2016 11:00 – 16:30
Our trip for the day is multi-facetted. We start with coffee at 11.00 at the village hall in Biddenham and a talk by Monica Knight of The Biddenham Society and author of a 2010 study of the village’s Arts and Crafts houses designed by Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott and Charles Edward Mallows. Biddenham is just 3 miles to the west of Bedford and both of Baillie Scott’s local houses are in the village. He came to Bedford in 1901 and spent twelve years working with the local joiners, the Pyghtle Works. After our talk we will visit one of the two Baillie Scott houses which is substantially unaltered internally.
Biddenham was also the home of Charles Edward Mallows for fourteen years until his death in 1915 at the age of 51. Society members saw his Tirley Garth house and garden during our Liverpool tour and in Biddenham there are three houses that he designed. We shall make time during the morning to view the exterior of these houses (and the other by Baillie Scott), but in particular Mallow’s Three Gables which was much acclaimed and referred to by Gertrude Jekyll in Gardens for Small Country Houses as an example of the “close connection between house and garden”.
Following a sandwich lunch at the local pub, we will make our way into Bedford to The Higgins, for a tour focused on the magnificent William Burges gallery, the Arts and Crafts artefacts in the design collection and then moving a little beyond the Arts and Crafts era, a peep at the museum’s unique Edward Bawden print collection – just to whet your appetites for a personal visit in the future. The Higgins Bedford unites on one site three previous cultural venues: Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford Museum and Bedford Gallery. Tea to end the day.
Thursday 16 June 2016 10:30 – 17:30
The Lutyens Trust is kindly allowing the Society to hold a study day at Goddards during their summer week at the house. Sir Edwin Lutyens designed Goddards in 1898-1900 for Sir Frederick Mirrielees as a place where 'Ladies of Small Means' might rest and enjoy the courtyard garden planted by Gertrude Jekyll. Goddards was given to the Lutyens Trust in 1991 and has been expertly restored by the Landmark Trust for holiday lettings. The Lutyens Trust archive is held in the Study-Library. During our visit there will be an opportunity to explore the house and garden at Goddards guided by the Secretary of the Lutyens Trust.
The study day will encompass – Lady Rhondda, Welsh peer, businesswoman, and active suffragette, a notable figure in the art and politics of the 1920s and 1930s through her publication Time and Tide; her Surrey home ‘Churt Halewell’ which was designed by Architect Leonard Martin; Sir Edwin Lutyens and the village of Shere
The day will start at Goddards with a lecture The Nine Lives of Lady Rhondda (1883-1958) to be given by Dr Angela John. This will be followed by The architecture of Leonard Martin, a lecture by Sarah Sullivan with an Introduction to the village of Shere.
Following lunch, we depart to visit, by kind invitation of the owners, the house formerly known as Churt Halewell where Lady Rhondda lived for some time; it is a delightful Arts and Crafts house surrounded by a pretty formal garden in the midst of the Surrey Hills. Then next to Shere for a guided walking tour of the village, led by Sarah to view examples of designs by Lutyens, including East Lodge, the half timbered tea rooms in Middle Street and the Church Lych Gate. We plan to visit Shere Museum, now occupying the original Parish Hall built to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1898 and the Church of St James.
The day will conclude at Goddards with tea in the garden, weather permitting, and a chance to explore the house further.
Wednesday 10th August 2016 10:30 – 16:30
This mid-summer outing is to the Chilterns where we visit The Tudors, a privately owned Baillie Scott house at Gerrards Cross, to be followed by a visit to Pigotts, the last home of Eric Gill. This event has all the promise of an interesting and enjoyable day out in the Buckinghamshire countryside visiting two properties of important Arts and Crafts interest.
By kind permission of the owners, we may visit The Tudors, a private house at Gerrards Cross designed by Baillie Scott for a member of the Sanderson wallpaper family. We meet for coffee at 10.30am with an inroductiory talk about the history of the house and a viewing of both the garden and the interior of the house. The house is substantial. It was commenced in1912 but not finished until after World War I. It is of brick and tile and in the Tudorbethan vernacular style characteristic of much of Baillie Scott’s work. The house was Grade II listed in 1985.
From Gerrards Cross we drive on to visit Pigotts, which is located approximately 4 miles north of High Wycombe. Here we can have a picnic lunch prior to prior to our visit commencing at 2.00pm.
Following his time at Ditchling (1907-24) and his move to Capel-y-Ffin (1924–28), in 1928 Eric Gill moved to his last home, Pigotts, a former farmstead situated in a rural location in the heart of the Chilterns. At Pigotts, Gill established his own printing press and prepared many of his most important public sculpture commissions including Prospero and Ariel for the BBC’s new Broadcasting House in Portland Place and eight stone reliefs of flying figures of Winds for the exterior of the London Underground Headquarters at St James’s Park, Victoria. Our visit will commence with an illustrated talk on Eric Gill to be given by the owner to be followed by a tour which will include the stone-carving workshop used by Gill and the Chapel which he created within the complex of buildings. Eric Gill died in 1940 and our day will end with a visit to the Baptist Church at nearby Speen where, in the churchyard, Gill’s grave is marked by a simple headstone.
Monday 12th – Friday 16th September 2016
This tour of Greater Manchester will visit a number of museums and buildings of Arts and Crafts interest. We will see the work of Edgar Wood, a founding member of the Northern Art Workers’ Guild and ‘the leading Arts and Crafts architect in the North West, designing schools, chapels and houses in a simple individual style.’ (Armstrong).
On day one, the tour starts in the afternoon at the John Ryland Library built in 1900-09 by Basil Champneys and hailed as ‘one of the finest buildings in England’ in its day.
Our second day is based in central Manchester. In the morning we will visit Manchester Art Gallery, famous for its collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Lunch is at Mr Tom’s Chop House. Built in 1901, this was one of the first cast iron frame buildings in Manchester, complete with arches and Victorian tiling. In the afternoon, we shall have a guided tour, centering on the Town Hall with the nearby Worthington Memorial, Central Library, Midland Hotel and Lutyens’ Cenotaph. The Town Hall was designed by Alfred Waterhouse in 1867. If it is available, we hope to see the Great Hall and the twelve murals by Ford Madox Brown. We will finish in the Sculpture Hall café for cream tea.
For our third day we travel by coach to Middleton to explore the work of Edgar Wood at Long Street Methodist Church and Schools. At Middleton Parish Church there are windows by Christopher Whall. Lunch is at Ye Olde Boar’s Head, a 17th century timber-framed pub. We drive past a couple of Edgar Wood houses on the way to 15th century Bramall Hall. Charles Nevill engaged George Faulkner Armitage to refurbish the house and it contains work by Pre-Raphaelite painter, Herbert Schmalz. We will then visit St Martin’s church at Marple, designed in 1869 by John Dando Sedding. This stunning church contains work by Morris & Co and Christopher Whall and the Henry Wilson chapel was painted by Edgar Wood. After returning to the hotel we will walk to our dinner venue. The Italian restaurant is housed in the former Midland Bank designed by Lutyens in 1928.
On the fourth day our coach takes us the short distance up Oxford Road to the First Church of Christ Scientist, an exceptional building designed by Edgar Wood and built 1903-08. Next we view the Victoria Baths with tiles by Pilkington Brothers; it was described as ‘the most splendid municipal bathing institution in the country’ when it opened in 1906. We will walk to the nearby Whitworth Gallery for our visit there. After lunch in the café, there may be time to see Waterhouse’s buildings at Manchester University or the stained glass by Paul Woodroffe at the Church of the Holy Name. We will then travel by coach into Cheshire to Pownall Hall. This house, now a school, is the only known example of the Century Guild’s work in its original setting and has a wealth of Arts and Crafts details.
On the last day we will visit the Sackville Street building of the University of Manchester, built using Burmantofts terracotta, this also has a large collection of stained glass by W.J. Pearce. We will move on to see the special Arts and Crafts collection held by Manchester Metropolitan University.
Most elements of the tour are now in place although there might be some small changes. We shall stay for four nights, Monday 12th to Friday 16th September, at The Palace Hotel on Oxford Street, an AA 4 star hotel. It was formerly the Refuge Assurance Building, designed by Alfred Waterhouse from 1891-9 and we plan to fit in a tour of the building. As for the trip to Glasgow, we are able to make a discounted group booking by rail, travelling late morning (to be confirmed) from Euston station, on Monday 12th and returning on Friday 16th. The rail ticket cost (approximately £40 from Euston) will be in addition to the event cost for those preferring to travel by train.
Tuesday 18th October 2016, 12.30pm to 5.00pm
We have the opportunity, by kind permission of the owners, to visit the Grade I listed private house and garden considered by Edwin Lutyens to be ‘the best of the bunch’. Designed by Lutyens in 1902, Little Thakeham was one of the first houses in which he mixed neoclassical architecture into his previous vernacular style. The exterior of the house is vernacular, but the interior has classical features, particularly in its large hall. The three, terraced gardens, also designed by Lutyens, are Grade II* listed.
His client was a headmaster, Ernest Blackburn, who had inherited a fortune from his father, a wine trader, in 1887. He purchased land near Pulborough, Sussex and created an estate of 130 acres. The architect, John Hatchard-Smith, was commissioned to design a house. Building began in 1901 but Blackburn did not like what he saw emerging. Lutyens advised him “to pull it down” and this is what he did, leading to a dispute between Hatchard and Lutyens played out in the pages of Building News and Country Life.
Blackburn was a keen amateur gardener and carried out the original planting in the garden himself. He lived in the house until 1919 when it was sold to the Aggs family who were there until 1979. In the 1980s, the house became the Little Thakeham Country House Hotel. The present owners have lived in the house, which is currently on the market, for nearly 20 years. Extending to 12,480 square feet, it includes three south-facing reception rooms and nine bedrooms.
Details of past events
Archive details of past events are available for the following years:
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