Saturday 8 December 2012

Great News from Westminster

In response to one of a series of questions asked by Kettering MP Philip Hollobone, the DCMS has agreed to look at loaning out its Alfred East watercolour for exhibition in Kettering as part of the 2013 Alfred East Centenary celebrations.

One hundred years on, 2013 will be a big year for the Alfred East Gallery, and its staff, friends and supporters are putting together a fitting programme of events: follow this news page for more details as they emerge.

My thanks to Philip Hollobone and Paul Johnson for forwarding the latest news.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Carol East's Stumpwork - 15th November 2012

Friends Evening Talks at the Alfred East Gallery, Kettering

Many of you will have seen examples of Carol's work in the craft showcase in September.

Carol kindly agreed to join the Friends of Kettering Art Gallery and Museum for the evening and share her world of stumpwork.

(a fascinating evening at the Alfred East Gallery: the November Friends talk)

As well as relating her own roller-coaster journey through the various personal and creative episodes that led her to this particular form of embroidery, Carol brought along numerous examples of her work and explained the historical context ...

Originally Jacobean, the essence of stumpwork is the raising of the needlework off the backing by means of stuffing, wire supports and related trickery.

(3 Dimensional embroidery: stumpwork by Carol East)

Early stumpwork featured buildings and people as well as floral motifs and insects and beetles etc.  A contemporary exponent, Carol tend to focus more on highly detailed floral items.

This was an illuminating and quite fascinating look into the world of a form of needlecraft entirely unknown to me.   The skill involved is remarkable and the 3D effect often very striking.  A very interesting evening at the Gallery!

If you missed this talk, but get the opportunity to see her work elsewhere, or listen to Carol's take on the topic, it is highly recommended

(Carol East with some samples of her work at the Alfred East Gallery)

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Playgrounds of War - a Cold War Heritage

Playgrounds of War by Gina Glover is now on at the Alfred East Gallery.

A core component of the work are the photographic essays on the remains of the nuclear missile base at RAF Harrington (on the Lamport Road).

In coordination with the exhibition, Gina led a photographic workshop which began with a field trip to the launch pads...

 I joined the photographers and lecturers on the trip ...  These are some of my pictures ...


As a first timer to a Kettering Art Workshop, I have to say I found it excellent value and extremely interesting.   I had long had Harrington on my list of heritage sites to explore, and could not have wished for a more interesting way of doing so.   I think I also learned a little about the way skilled practitioners go about finding and setting up their photographs.

I hope we might encourage some of the participants to contribute pictures to the album I have set up on the Museum and Gallery Facebook Page.

Within days of the workshop visit, and with the exhibition on at the Gallery until 17th November, it has been announced this week that the Thor Missile Bases at Harrington and North Luffenham have been listed by English Heritage.  Guardian News articleBBC News.

If you ever wondered how up to date the Kettering Museum and Art Gallery content was, now you know.  Already open by the time the BBC broke the heritage status story on the national news.

What did a Thor Missile look like?

Imagine that!

Harrington Museum
Museum and Gallery Events

Thursday 9 August 2012

Coming up: Friday 10th August at the Gallery

Friday 10th August: a fantastic lunchtime talk on the History of Seaside Resorts.  It looks to be the perfect way to get into the summer spirit! 

For further details and information on bookings, please see the main website ...

Friends Kagam visit Naseby Battlefield

(guide Ian Dexter explains the history of the Naseby Obelisk)

On Sunday 5th August a party of Friends of Kettering Art Gallery and Museum joined forces with The Battlefields Trust for visit to the site of the famous battle which, in 1645, settled the English Civil War.

(weapons demonstration at the Rupert Viewpoint)

Highlights of the visit included a firearms and equipment demonstration by reenactors, and an opportunity to drive down to the recently opened Sulby Hedges viewpoint (which is usually only accessible on foot).

Blessed with better than expected weather, and fortified with lunch at the Bull's Head in Clipston, our visit was guided by Ian Dexter of the Naseby Battlefield Project.

(umbrellas had to make a brief appearance at Sulby on an occasionally overcast day)

The visit included all the major battlefield vistas, and the monuments ... the Obelisk, near the village, The Cromwell Monument which marks (more or less) the Eastern end of the New Model Army infantry, and the brand new 'Blewcoats memorial' just opposite on Broadmoor, near to where Prince Rupert's Regiment stood 'like a wall of Brasse' while the Royalist army fled the battlefield.

(the Blewcoats memorial: click on any of these images for a larger version)

The tour ended at Moot Hill, just outside Sibbertoft (assemby ground of the hundred of Rothwell in Saxon times, and where Charles is said to have planted the Royal Standard) ... here, and on adjacent Wadborough, the remnants of Charles' army offered their last resistance.

Check the events list for future Friends' excursions.

  • If you're looking for something to do with the family this summer, why not visit the 'Beside the Seaside' exhibition at the Manor House Museum.  There is plenty to see and do!
  • Beside the Seaside   (free: on til 1st September)

Monday 30 July 2012

Exhibitions open at the Alfred East Gallery

Now on: Rita Tomalin and Lee Burrows ... 'this is what we do' ... 30th June to 11th August.  Following their win of the Public Choice Vote at the Open 11 exhibition, Lee and Rita exhibit their work together in this shared exhibition.  51 works showing their love of painting ... and the themes that delight and concern them.

There is also a splendid exhibition of striking prints in the connecting exhibition space: Passion2Print, Leicester Print Workshop’s biennial celebration of contemporary fine art printmaking ...

(Rita and Lee in front of some of their paintings at the Preview)

Thursday 19 July 2012

Tonight at the Gallery

Don't forget Greta Paradine-Palmer will be giving a 'Friends' talk at the Gallery this evening ... 'dressed to Impress', on the decorative trappings worn by Indian elephants.

7.30pm.  Anyone can come along ... Friends of the Museum and Gallery come free, others can pay the £3.00 on the door (and, yes, you can join the Friends or renew tonight when you arrive ...)...

Wednesday 11 July 2012

NMHH awards 2012

Kettering Museum and Art Gallery honoured at this year's Heritage Awards.
Kettering Museum and Art Gallery is delighted to have won two prestigious awards at the ‘Northamptonshire Museums and Historic Houses Forum Heritage Awards 2012’.

The Museum and Gallery team was presented with the award Best Exhibition for the popular ‘Hidden Treasures’, which was on display at the Alfred East Art Gallery from February to March 2012. The exhibition received over 2500 visitors from all over the UK and repeat visitors from the local regions. Hidden Treasures brought together a huge selection of the Alfred East’s Permanent Collection to form a rare exhibition in a traditional salon hang. Feedback from the exhibition was exceptional and plans are already in place for a bigger and better display to mark the centenary of the Alfred East Art Gallery and the life of East in 2013.

The second award presented to Kettering was the award for Work with Children and Young People for ‘The Exhibitionists’.  The Exhibitionists was a young curators’ project where local young people aged 13-19 were recruited to take part in a series of creative master-classes, working with museum staff to develop the skills needed to propose, plan and install their very own exhibition.  The participants learned how to curate and create an exhibition from scratch, develop ideas and concepts, design publicity, develop interpretation, prepare and hang work.  After much dedication and hard work from the participants, the resulting exhibition opened in February 2012, bringing in new local audiences and increased museum visitor figures; when compared like for like with this period in 2011.

Monday 2 July 2012

Olympic Torch Comes to Town

 (Kettering greets the 2012 Olympic Torch)

After a dismal morning the rain suddenly stopped and the Olympic band wagons rolled in.
There was a bit of a gap and it was all a bit behind schedule - but down in the heritage quarter things were a buzz ... 
 (Kettering Library - hopefully this will now become the main entrance again)
Java Java was full and queuing, the Library front doors were open, the new banners at the Art Gallery were up, the Museum and Gallery were both open for the special event and hundreds of leaflets were distributed promoting the summer programme of events and exhibitions.
 (Kettering Olympic welcome - there was even some of this)
Great to see the town full of people - and plenty of smiles despite a record breakingly bad start to the summer season.
 (Olympic torch at the Alfred East Gallery, Kettering)
The 'A Question of Sport' exhibition at the Museum is on until the end of the week.

Sunday 1 July 2012

Museum & Gallery Open on Torch Relay day ...

Usually shut on Mondays, the Gallery and Museum will be Open on 2nd July as part of the Olympic Torch celebrations ... Eleanor Baumber, from the Manor House Museum, says ...

'The museum and gallery will be opening on Mon 2nd July to celebrate the Olympic torch coming to Kettering. Why not celebrate by popping into the museum to see our ‘Question of Sport’ exhibition and trying some of our Olympic activity worksheets.'

Thursday 28 June 2012

Visit to Newton Field Study Centre

Saturday saw a group organised by the Friends of the Library and Friends Kagam to Newton, the remaining part of a cluster of villages between Geddington and the A6003.   

The Field Study Centre is the Church of St Faith, much treasured by novelist J.L. Carr.   Adjacent, we visited the site of the Tresham mansion of which just the dovecotes and the fishpond remain.

Newton was invloved in a series of peasant insurrections that spread across Nothamptonshire, Warwickshire and Leicestershire in 1607, triggered by landowners like the Treshams enclosing what had traditionally been common land.

(the dovecotes - what remains of a great Northamptonshire house)

The insurrection was violently put down, and over 40 villagers lost their lives in the final confrontation.

 (interpretation board recording the Newton rebellion of 1607)

The visit was a follow up to a fascinating evening talk given by John Padwick to the Friends of Kettering Art Gallery and Museum earlier in the year.

You can find out more at the website: Newton Rebels ...

Wednesday 27 June 2012


All these talks are at 7.30 pm in the Alfred East Art Gallery. They are free to Members of the Friends of Kettering Art Gallery & Museum.  Public tickets are £3.

(click on the entries for a larger text)

Also - Saturday 5 August
NASEBY BATTLEFIELD TOUR with the Battlefields Trust. Special price £5

Monday 25 June 2012

AEG: New Image Unveiled - June 22nd

Nicely on schedule for the Torch Relay passing by, the Gallery now has a much more prominent image ('profile', even) designed by Chris Prout and funded by the Friends of Kettering Art Gallery and Museum.

This was publicly unveiled at noon on Friday by Friends Chairman John Wilson in the company of Coucilors, members of the Friends and media along with the artist and Exhibitions Officer Katie Boyle.

John Wilson, said: “We hope the new signage will create a new brand image for the art gallery and museum complex. We expect to support further work to improve the museum’s signage as well, and to have additional signage in other parts of Kettering town centre. In this way we hope to draw in more visitors to the cultural quarter generally.”

Val Hitchman, Kettering Borough Council’s Head of Community Service said: “The Friends of the Art Gallery and Museum and local suppliers have been very generous and we really hope the new look helps further promote this valuable cultural asset in the heart of Kettering.”

 (the full set of new signs and banners)

You can help support this sort of initiative by joining the Friends of Kettering Art Gallery and Museum (Membership Form)

Latest What's On .. July - September 2012

Just got my latest 'What's On' guide (for July - Sepember)

Full of information on local events ...  You can download a copy from the Council website  ( What's On )

Museum highlights ... 'Beside the Seaside' 14th July to 1st September (taking a trip down memory lane) ... 'Amercian Arrivals' 8th September to 17th November (WW2 legacy of American airforce personnel) ... Gallery highlights ... 'Passion2Print' 25th July to 25th August ... 'Digital Art' 1st September to 29th September (showcasing the work of artists trained in computer media) ...

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Improving Web Resources

We're having a bit of an overhaul at the moment.   I am tidying up the Friends website (Friends KAGAM) meanwhile KBC have been rebuilding the Museum and Gallery pages - much more info and much better navigation (have a look)

If 'social media' are your thing, we have a Facebook Page (please go there and 'like' us: nice comments appreciated, too ...) and we are looking at Twitter.  But what do you think?

Don't forget there is a visit to Newton in the Willows coming up  (Saturday 23rd, in conjunction with the Friends of the Library - info here)

Thursday 14 June 2012

Open 12 at the Alfred East Gallery

The evening of Thursday 3 May saw a special launch of Kettering Borough Council’s Alfred East Art Gallery’s annual Open art exhibition, Open 12. 

The event, attended by over 100 visitors, saw four artists receive awards for their work demonstrating artistic merit and originality. Visitors to the Gallery on Sheep Street in Kettering have until Saturday 9th June to vote for their favourite. 

All the works are for sale.

Artists working in all media across Northamptonshire and adjoining counties were invited to enter into this year’s Open 12 exhibition, showcasing the work of emerging and established artists. These items were then selected by a panel of local arts professionals crediting outstanding items. 

The four artists each received a cash award for their submissions kindly supported by Kettering Borough Council and the Friends of the Museum and Art Gallery who supported the award for best sporting theme.

Award of £350 for the painting, ‘Financial Gold Rush’ presented to Derek Brittan

Award of £250 for the painting, ‘Dicentra Hearts’ presented to Andree Fletcher

Award of £150 for the painting, ‘Evening Walk, Dorset’ presented to Brian Mutton

Award of £100 for the Mixed Media piece ‘Going for Gold’ presented to Heather
Wharam by Friends of the Museum and Art Gallery

Valerie Hitchman Head of Community Services said: “once again we have had an
overwhelming number of entries covering all media for this year’s Open 12. As
always the standard has been exceptionally high and our judging panel have had the
hard choice of selecting their winners but now we are offering visitors the chance to
cast their vote. The artist who receives the most votes will be offered an exhibiting
opportunity at the Alfred East Art Gallery in 2013.”

Kettering Borough Council invited all artists living or working in Northamptonshire or the adjacent counties to submit works of art to be considered by the independent exhibition selection panel of arts professionals: Chris Prout Artist and Winner of the Open 11 Public vote; Friedemann Schaber Senior Lecturer in Design at the University of Northampton; Katie Boyce Gallery Officer.

This year there were 216 works submitted to Open 12 at the Gallery and of these works, 87 have been selected for inclusion in the exhibition.   Artworks were chosen on their artistic merit, with the overall aim of producing an exhibition which highlights the quality and diversity of artistic practice in the region.

This panel of judges also chose the artist awards.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Latest News

Talks and visits coming up


These events are organised by the Friends of the Gallery and Museum ... You can buy tickets on the door or join the friends and attend for free.

Naseby Exhibition at the Manor House Museum

This temporary exhibition - upstairs in the Museum - focusses on the Battle of Naseby in 1645.  There are a number of information panels, and exhibits from authentic period armour to artefacts recovered over the years from the battlefield.
A browse around the two rooms will give visitors a guide to the conduct of the war, the armies engaged and the tactics of the battle in 1645 - in addition to an overview of the 17th Century's position in history and warfare.

The exhibition is on until 26th May and is free.

more details on the exhibitions page 

Backing up the Naseby theme, John Kliene gave an interesting lunchtime talk at the Gallery on May 11th ... on the role of Battlefield Archaeology.

Actually, John's very interesting point was that Battlefield Studies is a discipline invloving three key components ... Contemporary Accounts (traditional documentary history as we might have done at school); Battlefield Walking (actually getting to know the landscape in order to understand what the resources tell us) and Archaeology (surveying, metal dectecting etc.) ...

A battlefield like Naseby's emerges into perspective when the light combines from these specialist analyses.

You can find out more about the work of the Naseby Battlefield Project at

Thursday 26 April 2012

2013 Centenaries Open Forum

2013 sees the centenary both of the opening of the Alfred East Gallery and the passing of the artist whose gift it was.  All are invited to an Open Forum chaired by local MP Philip Hollobone at the Alfred East Gallery