Art in Surrey: in the frame 2010

PUBLISHED: 15:16 15 April 2011 | UPDATED: 11:57 28 February 2013

Art in Surrey: in the frame 2010

Art in Surrey: in the frame 2010

Uncovering Surrey's most interesting, important and simply unique artworks

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2010

Just in time to start her residency at the world-acclaimed Watts Gallery in Compton, which is set to reopennextyear, Guildford artist Sheila Wallis has won the prestigious 2009 Threadneedle Prize, the largest art prize awarded by the public in the UK.

I was surprised that such a small painting received so much attention, says Sheila, of her striking self-portrait (right). My current work explores the human body, with an emphasis on the creatureliness of the human condition.

It makes enquiry into the material, physical qualities of the medium, allowing room for the viewer to experience a degree of freedom to feel as well as think about the visual experience.

Sheilas residency at Watts Gallery, where she will be the first artist to work in the newly restored studio when it reopens following restoration, runs until October 2010and this work will be on display throughout.

  • Watts Gallery, Down Lane, Compton, Guildford GU3 1DQ.
    Tel: 01483 810235

In the frame is a monthly Surrey Life magazine feature uncovering Surrey's most interesting, important and simply unique publicly displayed artworks. Send your nominations to

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Originally published in Surrey Life magazine February 2010

A slight deviation from the usual In the Frame this month as we stroll through the doors of St Swithuns Church in Purley to find a very special new altar frontal.

This beautiful piece was funded by a generous gift from a parishioner in memory of her husband, says the priest in charge of the church, the Reverend Frany Long. It was created by the ladies in the parish as well as members of the Dorking Embroiderers Guild.

Once the design was approved, the stitching began and it took the best part of a year to complete, with the ladies working weekly on the intricate beading and knotwork, before it was dedicated at a special service of evensong in November.

The design has been stitched on to purple cloth called Winchester, coincidentally the name of the town in whose cathedral the shrine of St Swithun can be found, adds Rev Long. The design itself symbolises the richness of Gods creation, with the fish in the sea and the birds of the air, and the cross rising supreme over all.

  • St Swithuns Church, 22 Peaks Hill, Purley CR8 3JE. Tel: 0208 660 7204

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2010

The celebrated Surrey artist Chris Forseyreturned to Guildford House Galleryin March witha series of new works inspired by the Downs.

Featured here, Turning Trees is a painting of the view east from a grassy bend in the scarp at White Down, near Dorking.

It was the quiet autumn weather of mid October, and the trees were a mass of russet, orange and yellow, says Chris, who also runs watercolour classes in Surrey. In the far distance, you can just see a patch of sunlight on the slopes of Box Hill.

The painting, an acrylic on canvas, uses a limited palette of colours, with initial thin washes overlaid with more opaque paint applied with a palette knife and a large brush.

I have been walking, sketching and taking inspiration from the North and South Downs since I moved to the area 30 years ago, says Chris. I particularly enjoy the section from Dorking, where I live, to Shere in the west. The topography here allows long views along the scarp both east and west, which are especially stunning in early morning or late in the day.

  • Chris Forseysexhibitedat Guildford House Gallery in High Street, Guildford:

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2010

Better known for its costume collection, Chertsey Museum is also home to a small number of paintings that record Surrey as it used to be.

The artist behind this particular work, John Hassell (1767-1825), was a notable topographical painter of great renown.

This charming watercolour depicts the home of Charles James Fox, who was Britains first foreign secretary, at St Anns Hill in Chertsey, says the museums curator, Emma Warren.

It is a wonderful record of the much-loved home of one of the nations most colourful politicians, which unfortunately fell into disrepair and was demolished early in the 20th century.

Sadly, this is the case with many of the buildings that John Hassell painted. His works are therefore an invaluable historic record of a bygone age, depicting rural elegance in grand country houses that have since disappeared forever.

A number of Hassells works, and those of his son Edward, were used by Robert Barclay of Bury Hill, Dorking, to augment his copy of
Manning and Brays The History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey.

  • See this work at Chertsey Museum, The Cedars, 33 Windsor Street, Chertsey KT16 8AT: 01932 565764

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2010

Over the years, the University of Surrey has built up an impressive art collection that is on display around the Guildford campus.

Some works have been donated and some purchased, and the oil on canvas illustrated here, One Piano, Four Hands, was acquired from Roger Dellar who has been artist-in-residence for the last three Guildford International Music Festivals.

The interest of this work is in capturing an exciting event in the countys cultural life, says Pat Grayburn, arts administrator at the university. It shows Joseph Tong and Waka Hasegawa performing at the festival in March 2005, in Studio One of the Performing Arts Technology Studios, and now hangs in the foyer outside the studio.

Roger Dellar lives in Hindhead and is a professional figurative artist working in oils, pastels, mixed media and acrylics.

He sits unobtrusively at concerts and records the action with astonishing speed, and he is particularly successful with his light effects, adds Pat.

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In the frame is a monthly Surrey Life magazine feature uncovering Surrey's most interesting, important and simply unique publicly displayed artworks. Send your nominations to

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2010

Pioneering science is behind the effervescent glow of this magnificent tapestry, which was commissioned by Henry VIII to commemorate the birth of his son Edward and is still on display at Hampton Court Palace today.

One of ten tapestries in the acclaimed Story of Abraham series,
The Oath and Departure of Eliezer was recently the subject of a six-year conservation project to virtually restore its vivid colours.

This unique project showcases one of the few remaining types of artwork to have a direct link with King Henry VIII himself, and reveals the spectacular colour and vibrancy of the Tudor court, says Kathryn Hallett, preventive conservation and science manager at Historic Royal Palaces.

Researchers painstakingly examined every yarn in the tapestry and calculated how much colour had been lost over the years. They then worked out how tiny, specially calibrated beams of light could be safely projected onto two million separate sections of the tapestry to temporarily reinstate its original appearance.

  • The virtual restorationis on show as part of Henry VIIIs Tapestries Revealed at daily timed intervals at Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey KT8 9AU until Sunday October 31.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2010

The striking artwork below, Pictures Puzzle, can be found at The Ashley Centre in Epsom and was a collaborative effort between students at the towns University for the Creative Arts.

Produced by first year students from the graphic design and new media courses, this is the second time that students have been invited to add their creative touch to the shopping centre.

The picture can be found at the Waitrose end of The Ashley Centre near the lifts, but if youd like to see more of the students work, then a stroll around the corner to the university campus in Ashley Road might be in order their entrance foyer is a fantastic exhibition space.

As the title suggests, the artwork was created with the intention of challenging shoppers to decipher the signs, letters and symbols that feature in each of the panel faces. Have you decoded the puzzle yet?

  • The Ashley Centre, Kingshade Walk, High Street, Epsom KT19 8EB.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2010

With all the recent celebrations of Lewis Carroll going on in Guildford, marking the authors close association with the town, you may well have wondered about the little Alice and the White Rabbit statue situated near the town centre alongside the River Wey at Millmead. Well, wonder no more

The statue was made by Edwin Russell, a local sculptor, in 1984, says Mary Alexander, collections officer at Guildford Museum and Guildford House Gallery. It was given to the town by Arundel House Securities who had developed Westbury House, over the road from the sculpture, and was unveiled on July 11, 1984, by the towns MP at the time, David Howell.

The eye-catching sculpture was created in clay and then moulded in plaster and cast in fibreglass. It was then sent to a foundry in London to be cast in bronze, taking three months to make.

The girls who posed for it were friends of the artists daughters, says Mary. The rabbit was chosen from 500 white rabbits on a farm and lived with the sculptors family.

It seems to be popular a path has been worn around it, and children often sit on the rabbit.

Edwin Russell also made a group of sheep for an office block in the Upper High Street, as a reminder of Guildfords wool trade.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2010

In Regency times, it was popular to have an elaborate table display, where figurines would be laid out to create a mini representation of the formal gardens that most big houses would have had outside.

Known as a surtout de table, the cherubs, pictured right, are part of one such creation on the dining table at National Trust property Clandon Park in West Clandon.

The tiny details on this piece are breathtaking and the skill of the modeller shines through, says house manager Caroline Sones. With unglazed porcelain, it was impossible to hide any mistakes and so the work had to be flawless.

It is wonderful to see these figures used in the type of table display for which they were originally created.

These intricate pieces would also have been arranged with fancy sugar creations, sweet desserts and fruit.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2010

Forming part of mixed media group Kaleidoscopes tenth anniversary celebrations at Guildford House Gallery, Thames Ditton artist Linda Walsh will be exhibiting her work Dusk Falls at Fontenay.

Often taking inspiration from her travels, with recent efforts capturing Cambodia, the Grand Canyon, Alaska and most recently the Cistercian abbeys of Europe following a tour there this spring, this intriguing work is an evocation of a French abbey.

The path from a memory of a place to the finished work in fabric and stitch is a mix of instinct, experimentation and serendipity, says Linda.

It usually begins with hundreds of photos of interesting bits tracery, capitals, arches, floors, ceilings, tombs etc. I cut these up and re-assemble them, and then sort through the piles of chiffons, silks and organzas in my studio, and daub paint onto bits of fabric.

In summary, I absorb the tones, shapes and surface forms I have seen and distil them into my impression of this beautiful architecture.

  • See this work at Kaleidoscopes tenth anniversary show at Guildford House Gallery, from Monday November 22 to Friday December 24: 01483 444751

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2010

In 2009, Tim Winter, a local historian and volunteer at Haslemere Educational Museum, purchased a series of five pictures of the 1786 murder of the unknown sailor at Hindhead.

The story goes that on September 24 of that year, a sailor was murdered at a secluded spot on the road to Hindhead, and the murderers were found and hung at Gibbet Hill.

The event became so infamous that it was even mentioned in Charles Dickens book Nicholas Nickleby when Nickleby walks from London to Portsmouth.

The five paintings were painted in about 1876 by an innkeeper named Pearson, says museum curator Julia Tanner.

They were displayed at the Royal Huts Hotel at Hindhead and later hung at The Kings Arms and Royal Hotel in Godalming.

Having been painted over 130 years ago, and on display in two pubs, the paintings are extremely dirty and cracked. They all have much badly applied and discoloured repainting, coupled with strong separation cracks, and are in need of restoration.

While the cost of repairing The Hanging (pictured right) has been taken on by a charitable trust, the museum is currently seeking funding for the conservation of the other paintings, which are available to view at the museum by appointment.

  • If you can help, contact Julia Tanner at Haslemere Educational Museum, 78 High Street, Haslemere GU27 2LA: 01428 642112

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