Wednesday 31 July 2013

Best Exhibition Award for Kettering for the third year in a row

Great news as Kettering Museum and Gallery proudly pose with the 2013 NMHH Best Exhibition award for American Arrivals at the Manor House Museum.   What a great exhibition it was and I enjoyed the accompanying talk on Grafton Underwood and the story of the Bombing Group.

What price the hugely popular High School exhibition as front runner next time, I wonder?

In the mean time, we hope to see you today/this evening at the Gallery for the Centenary Opening (details)

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Pictorial 2013 Centenary News

Paul Johnson sends us this mid year pictorial summary ... of the impressive range of events so far and of highlights still to come ...

and ...

(From Dudley Art Gallery's exhibition of their collection of 13 works, May/June 2013)

On now and to Come

In Kettering ...

1st August - 28th September - Alfred East Gallery, Kettering ... the Centenary Exhibition

Alfred East 100 years ... 10th July - 24th August ... Northampton Museum and Art Gallery ... "showcasing a small selection of his romantic landscape paintings from the museum's permanent collection" - 8 works now on show less than 15 miles from Kettering

RA Diploma work on display in the entrance hall of Burlington House, Piccadilly, from 28th August

14-15 September Journees du Patrimoine - Exhibition of copies of paintings of Aix Les Bains, Savoy, by Alfred East, in the Hotel Splendido, where he stayed on his visits to the town.

19th September .. Friends of KAGAM  evening talk by Kenneth McConkey (Prefoessor Emeritus, Northumbria)

20th September ... Lunchtime lecture Kettering Alfred East Gallery - Kenneth McConkey

20th September from 7:00pm Centenary Dinner in Kettering organised by the Friends of Kettering Art Gallery and Museum and KDAS inspired by the 1910 civic banquet that celebrated Alfred East's knighthood.

6th November - talk by Kenneth McConkey to Stowe Civic Society on Alfred East at Upper Swell in the Cotswolds

Articles on Alfred east will appear in Country Life (Sept - Cotswolds edition) and the British Art Journal (autumn).

Many thanks to Paul Johnson for this contribution

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Alfred East Gallery Centenary timetable

Many thanks to Katie for sending me an updated timetable for the centenary events on the 31st ..

The Alfred East Gallery will be celebrating 100 years since it first opened in 1913.   As part of the celebrations the Gallery is recreating the original exhibition and a re-opening ceremony will take place in the Manor House Gardens on 31st July at 2:30pm declared by the ringing of the Church bells to mark the actual anniversary.   The running order on the day will be as follows ...

12:30 to 2pm - lunchtime talk by Geoff Hales - Alfred East: Lyrical Landscape Painter - Tickets cost £3.50 for concessions or £5.00 ... Tickets are bookable by calling 01536 534274 (tickets are selling FAST!!)

2pm - Sea Cadets will march and play in the Gardens

2:30 - Bells announce the 100 years

3pm - Speeches

3:30 - Cutting of the ribbon by Lord Lieutenant Lady Juliet Townsend

There are refreshments and a String Trio will play during the day and into the evening

6pm to 8pm - Evening Reception

If you would like to attend please email 

Sounds like a great day with something for everyone.   Members of the Friends will be on hand during the day should you want to find out more about our activities.    Do come by ...

Landscapes of the Imagination - John Roger Hatton and Brenda McKetty at Oakapple Art Studios

Oakapple Art Studios, July 2013 (closes 14/7)

Apologies to Roger and Brenda for not managing to drop by and add a note about this exhibition until it was closing.  Both artists exhibit regularly locally, so readers will have plenty of opportunities to view their work at other venues (icluding the Open Studios auction at Oakapple this weekend) ...

I really enjoyed the colourful combination of the two artists and their different approaches to the art of landscape.

(Landscapes of the imagination ... exhibitors Brenda McKetty and John Roger Hatton in conversation with a visitor)

Saturday 13 July 2013

Battle Anniversary Pictures

It was nice to see a few Friends of Kettering Art Gallery and Museum amongst the small gathering of heritage enthusiasts for the anniversary of the 1460 battle of Northampton.

Members of the Medieval Siege Society attended in period costume to lay red and white roses in honour of the fallen, then happily posed for a variety of publicity shots and for visitors.

Local battlefield historian Mike Ingram gave a potted account of the battle from golf course side of the monument (from which vantage point the papal legate Francesco Coppini watched and recorded the events) ...

(members of the Friends gathered on the fringe of the golf course listening to the narrative) 

This is the view they enjoyed.   Coppini's account would mean the battle took place between this elevation and Delapre abbey (in the middle background) ...

(a view of the battlefield from the Eleanor Cross today)

(a similar view as it may have been in 1460, in a new reconstruction by artist Matthew Ryan)

The event benefited from a degree of national new coverage (BBC News) which may well prove important as Northamptonshire's diverse heritage seems very much under pressure these days.   Kettering Art News will keep you posted.

Thanks to Northampton Battlefield Society for inviting us along.

Thanks to Matthew Ryan for permission to include his painting of the battlefield (Matthew Ryan Historical Illustrator)

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Northampton Battlefield Visit 2013

The Northampton Battlefield Society and Medieval Siege Society are hosting an anniversary visit and walk on the evening of 10th July.  Friends of Kettering Art Gallery and Museum are welcome to attend.

The MSS will be wearing 15th Century costume and will lay a wreath at the Eleanor Cross, and there will be a guided walk on the battlefield (which we can now assume lies between the cross and Delapre Abbey)

Meet at the Delapre Abbey car parking at 6:30 
(contact me by commenting or via the Friends if you need further information - if we know you are coming we can make sure we don't move off without you).   

(the Battle of Northampton reconstructed by Simon Chick)

A collection will be made on behalf of the Battlefields Trust

Dr Roy Hargrave on John Alfred Gotch - Alfred East Gallery 20/06/2013

June's Friends talk was on the centenary message, with Dr Roy Hargrave introducing us to the career of John Alfred Gotch ... architect, architectural historian and, in the '20s, President of RIBA.

It is a mark of his status that he was the first provincial architect to be made President of the Royal Association.   His extensive oeuvre, of course, includes the Alfred East Gallery which is 100 years old this month.

(an early image of the Alfred East Art Gallery which I have restored from a damaged postcard)

The plaza was established, more or less, as we know it now when the war memorial, also by J. A. Gotch, was added in 1921 - one of numerous memorials designed by Gotch's practice.

Gotch was responsible for the greater proportion of Kettering's period monumental architecture, domestic and civic, industrial and institutional, and is often referred to as the man who built Kettering.

As his architectural career flourished, Gotch also wrote and illustrated profusely on the topic of architecture and guides to building heritage.   Dr Hargrave layered his talk with a wide range of illustrations from Gotch's books and brought along an extensive collection for us to browse.

I found this a fascinating insight into the man who contributed so much to the physical appearance of the town we know today.

(the gallery and war memorial in our time:  an iconic backdrop to the Olympic Torch's visit to Kettering)

Addendum ...

Many of you will know of our connections to the Naseby Battlefield project ... and it is, perhaps, no surprise that in following up Dr Hargrave's talk, I see Pevsner's entry on the Cromwell memorial at Naseby:

BATTLEFIELD MEMORIAL.  A column with a ball finial.  1936 by J. A. Gotch.

Having attended the talk, the connections are obvious.

(Naseby Battlefield: the Cromwell memorial by John Alfred Gotch)


Wednesday 29 May 2013

Shameless plug - Northants Heritage Awards 2013

People's Choice Award 2013

Members of the Public (aged 16 and Over) can vote for their favourite museum, as part of the Northants Heritage Awards, recognising excellence in museums and historic houses.

Kettering Museum and Art Gallery are delighted to be on the list of entrants and are inviting you to vote for them.

Please download the form by clicking on the link below

Fill in the form and either hand it in to the Museum or Gallery or at the main reception desk in the Municipal offices before 31 June.

We need your Help!

Thursday 9 May 2013

Open 13 at the Alfred East Gallery

The 2013 Open at the Alfred East Gallery

One more week to go ... 72 new works exhibited in open exhibition including a Youth section sponsored by the Friends of Kettering Art Gallery and Museum.

Please make sure you drop in ... this is a refreshing, interesting and cheerful exhibition with some worthy prize winners - and a chance to vote for your favourites.

The Youth section sponsored by the Friends is a real eye-opener and there is some pride in being associated with such genuinely assured young talent.

Also on at the moment is the Public's Choice exhibition - your favourites from last year's Hidden Treasures show on display in the Small Gallery (well, 11 of them plus a really interesting video on the restoration of Alfred East's Sunlit Haven ... worth a trip in, just for that) ...

The 2013 Open closes on the 18th
The Public's Choice is open til 1st June

Friday 3 May 2013

Friends Kagam AGM 18th April 2013

This year's AGM took place at the Alfred East Gallery on April 18th.

Arrangement were put together under a certain amount of pressure: our speaker had to decline due to ill health ... and then our President Philip Hollobone MP was unable to chair the meeting due to Parliamentary business being rescheduled due to the funeral of Baroness Thatcher.

As it turned out, the business phase took up sufficient time that Phil's 'Yearbook' slideshow had to shown in a much truncated form.

In Philip Hollobone's absence, Richard Makins took the chair, and reviews of the yewar's business were presented by Committee Chairman John Wilson and Secretary Barbara Lewis.   We enjoyed a mixture of media, the Membership debate being moderated by flip chart, the website and social media by slide projections ...

... and the activities review by a display board presentation ...

The main business of the day concerned the financial report which indicated that we had kept within our means other than in funding the year's main project, the new sign boards for the art Gallery ... 

... and the invitation from the Treasurer, who was unable to attend, that we put up the subscription.   a heated debate was unable to resolve for sure when the new subscription fee would apply, so fees for the 2013/14 season remain unchanged pending further considerations and clarifications from the Committee.

The intention is to put the fees up modestly, but the new rate now looks likely to apply from April 2014 - there will be plenty of time to clarify this before it takes effect.

Everyone was thanked for their input and attention was drawn to the range of events celebrating alfred east's centenary.

Friday 26 April 2013

Carolyn Bushell - Poets, Poseurs and Paraphernalia

Just closed at Oakapple Studios, Mears Ashby, Carolyn Bushell showed a collection of musically inspired pictures great and small, which drew a lot of enthusiast attention ...

I particularly enjoyed being reminded of the strident imagery of Punk and the Sex Pistols ...

... and I bought several greetings card reproduction of Carolyn's iconic portrait of a mature but ever striking David Bowie.  All very subtle and skillfully created original works.

Keep an eye out for Carolyn's next exhibition.  

(all rights reserved)

Monday 8 April 2013

'Kettering High School' at the Museum 30 March - 8 June 2013

Barb showed me round the Kettering High School exhibition at the Manor House Museum the other day

It is 100 years since the High School opened at what are now the Council Offices on Bowling Green Road.   Many of you won't need me to tell you that ...

This is clearly an exhibition that will mean a lot to generations of local families and indeed people were trying to spot old friends and family members in some of the period photos on show whilst we browsed.

A big thumbs up to the exhibition team who have done a great job presenting the stories and memorabilia in an interesting and arresting way - I'm a more recent arrival, but even I was fascinated to see Kettering in days gone and the council offices in their former guise.

Definitely worth a visit as when you are at the Heritage end of the town centre ... and if you are a former student, there is a display by the Old Girls association which might interest you - maybe give you a chance to renew long lost friendships ...

Entry is free, as always, and the exhibition runs for a couple of months ...

Thursday 28 March 2013

Arthur Bell: a Friends talk at the Alfred East Gallery

(some of the collected work of Arthur Bell illustrating the Friends Kagam talk)

On Thursday evening, David Boswell presented a fascinating and well illustrated appreciation of the work of Kettering-born artist Arthur Bell (1897-1995) ...

Arthur Bell was born in Kettering and originally studied in the town before attending Bournemouth School of Art after the Great War.    He subsequently had a long and well respected teaching career, first in the South West, then moving to Gloucestershire and the Cheltenham Colleges

(Arthur Bell: wartime drawing)

There are a number of Bell's works on the BBC yourpaintings resource   

Arthur Bell was elected an associate of the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol (RWA) in 1935 and exhibited regularly there until 1994.   He specialised in etching and watercolour and had work selected on a number of occasions for the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition.

(Arthur Bell: illustrations)

The talk was illustrated both with slides and a large number of items and illustrated booklets for people to browse and gave an engaging impression of the life and work of one of Kettering's less well-known artists.   

A great contribution to the life of the Alfred East Gallery courtesy of the Friends.

(Arthur Bell: Tuscan watercolour)

Sunday 3 February 2013

Gilty Pleasures opens at AEG

Friday evening saw the opening of the first art show of the New Year ... Gilty Pleasures - a bigger and better version of last year's triumphant Hidden Treasures salon hang.

The largest display of the Alfred East Gallery's Permanent Collection.

The new exhibition embraces all the galleries and displays nearly 400 works from the collection, celebrating diversity in a kaleidoscope of art spreading over every wall.

(John Wilson contributes a few words on behalf of the Friends of the Gallery)

This is an ideal occasion - hopefully annual, now - to get an impression of what is in the town's extensive collection ... so, especially if you missed Hidden Treasures, make sure you call in and have a look around.  Entry is free, and you may well feel you want to come again, there is so much to take in.

Friday's preview was warmly introduced by Gallery Officer, Katie Boyce, Deputy Mayor, Keli Watts, and Chairman of the Friends, John Wilson.   2013 is a big year for Kettering's Alfred East Gallery ...  marking the centenaries both of the opening of the Gallery and the passing of Sir Alfred East whose great idea the project was.

Another first, the opening saw the launch of the first comprehensive guide to the collection - currently available in a limited edition anniversary cover.  192 fully illustrated pages including catalogue details with biographical essays covering the major artists at the heart of the collection and the story of the gallery and exhibits.

Collecting so much knowledge in such an accessible single volume format is a great achievement made possible both by generous support from the Friends, KDAS, Alfred East's family as well and the editorial effort of the Gallery Officer and her team.

Gilty Pleasures runs until March 16th and is the first of a high profile series of exhibitions and events celebrating this anniversary year.   It got a very warm reception and has got the year off to great start.

It really is a show not to miss.

(opening night at Gilty Pleasures)