Sunday, December 02, 2007

Moreton in Marsh - galleries, cakes and tarts

The Marshmallow's cake display at Moreton in Marsh
8" x 11", pencil and coloured pencil in sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This is the sort of sketch I tend to end up doing when visiting galleries on a rainy afternoon in December - the cake and tart display in the local teashop!

Vivien Blackburn (Painting, Prints and Stuff) and I visited Moreton in Marsh, in the Cotswolds, yesterday for a Private View of the opening exhibition of The John Davies Gallery which has recently relocated from Stow on the Wold to Moreton in Marsh - just up the road and on the London Paddington to Worcester main line.

In doing so the Gallery has gained an awful lot of space and good parking for its customers. The relocated gallery is in an Old Dairy in a former industrial area which is now reconfigured as an area for antique dealers and art galleries - enterprises which both benefit from space to show their wares to best effect. Such space is not normally available in 'shop' venues on a street. Plus the Gallery has a well established client list and new clients are unlikely to be 'passing trade' so the location makes jolly good sense.

We did think about doing a sketch of the gallery ("Tate Modern meets the Cotswolds") but the rain which was bucketing down made that decision very easy!

I really liked some of the work by the artists featured in the exhibition for the opening collection. (see this post on Making A Mark for highlights).

It was also great to see some of David Prentice's oil paintings of the Malverns and to also meet him. David Prentice is a long time painting 'hero' of both Vivien and myself. See Vivien's blogpost about the day for some commentary on DP's work and his own sketching and sketchbook habits. I was very pleased to get a recommendation as to the ink he used for the reed pen and ink and watercolour drawing of roofs in Paris which I saw at the Lynn Painter-Stainers exhibition last week and to have it confirmed that I'd guessed right as to the location of this view of Paris. It was also very interesting to find out that 'Paris Roofscape' started off as a sketch done in a small sketchbook.

We also visited the contemporary gallery in the London Road belonging to Astley Fine Art. They were having an exhibition of "The Thames" by Charles Neal. Unfortunately their website www.contemporaryart-uk.com doesn't appear to be working properly. Neal is an oil painter and yet another artist who has found a varied range of subjects suitable for both his interests and style while painting along the banks of the River Thames. A third gallery Grime House Arts has a very useful, if very small, art supplies section with some nice goodies and stuff which is difficult to find elsewhere. For those who like it, it also has a very fine collection of cranberry glass. I found one item which looked very like my grandmother's cranberry glass sweetmeat glass - and now have an idea of its value!

Moreton in Marsh was a victim of the floods on 20 July this year as this BBC photo shows. Nearly everybody we spoke to had a tale to tell about they much they had been affected by the floods. Some were waist deep and some found that the water stopped at their step and didn't come in at all. We thought that the name of the village suggested that maybe floods were not uncommon but apparently it isn't the case at all - nobody could remember ever being flooded before!

I have to assure you that Vivien and I were definitely not responsible for demolishing that chocolate tart - note only one slice left. No - we went for the white chocolate and raspeberry roulade as dessert following a very nice hot meal at lunchtime! Then we were back in 'The Marshmallow' at teatime for a cup of tea (me) and hot chocolate (Vivien) plus cake before facing the long drive back to London and Leicester respectively in the dark - and that's when I did this sketch. A lot of the day was spent on chat of an art nature - it's so nice to be able to get together with one's internet and blogging chums - and I do recommend making the effort if you've never done it before.

We've decided we definitely need to go back for David Prentice's next exhibition - New City Paintings - at the John Davies Gallery in March 2008. Judging by the example I've seen it looks like look like we're in for a treat with a number of large and atmospheric oil paintings of 21st century London. We talked a little bit about his locations and I think some of the paintings may well be from the top of Greenwich Hill where I did my sketchcrawl sketch recently although I know he didn't get the weather he wanted.

I think that next time we may well try and find somewhere to stay over night so we can spend more time there relative to the travelling time and get some plein air work done while we're there.

Notes on Moreton in the Marsh

Moreton in Marsh dates back to the thirteenth century and is one of the main towns on the Fosse Way (
a Roman road that linked Exeter to Lincoln in the East Midlands, via Ilchester (Lindinis), Bath (Aquae Sulis), Cirencester (Corinium) and Leicester (Ratae Corieltauvorum). As an old coaching town it developed a lot of places to eat and drink as such places tend to do and quite a few are still there. Its high street is very wide and buildings are traditional - a sixteenth century curfew tower at one end dominates the high street and modernity is kept firmly under control by the local council. Importantly for those who love visiting/painting gardens there are lots of really good ones nearby!

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