An inspiring visit
Art Gallery & Museum
It is a rare treat to visit the work that has inspired a painter, and in the company of that painter.
Alan Langford, equestrian artist and highly skilled graphic artist, invited a group of friends and fellow artists to visit the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery with him to see the large oil, ‘The Gypsy Horse Drovers’ by Lucy Kemp-Welch, painted in 1894 when Lucy was a student under Herbert Von Herkomer RA.
In his book WELGORA Alan wrote about the day when Lucy was inspired to do this painting:
‘The idea for this painting occurred to her when she saw the approach of a number of heavy-hoofed cobs, driven by tough-looking Romany riders along a muddy country lane, under a grey wintry sky. Rushing from her lodgings with palette and brushes in hand, and the lid of her paint box to serve as a paint board, she executed a swift and skillful composition as this irregular, rampant procession proceeded before her.’
The curator of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery showed us the actual sketch on the paint box lid.
This stunning little oil sketch is a very special art work in itself, portraying movement and detail in a few quick strokes of the brush, with the texture of the rough wood adding a further dimension.
The paint box lid with Lucy’s quick painted sketch of the Gypsy Horse Drovers mentioned is displayed on the reverse of the picture of a horse’s head shown in this photo, also by Lucy Kemp-Welch.
I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo of the box lid, but … what better excuse to go to the art gallery and see it for yourself?
Lucy went on to paint ‘The Gypsy Horse Drovers’ on an 8 foot long canvas – an enormous project for a diminutive young woman (she was in her early twenties) and in that Victorian time.
Alan explains in his book WELGORA how with trepidation Lucy presented the unfinished painting to be viewed by Herkomer, a man not averse to putting a huge black cross of paint across a student’s work if it was not to his approval!
But as Alan writes: ‘Herkomer was so impressed by ‘The Gypsy Horse Drovers’ that he recommended that Lucy submit it for the next Royal Academy Exhibition.
This she did, and it was hung in a good position just above the line and was quickly purchased by Sir Frederic Harris for £60.00.
At that time £60.00 represented a significant sum; Lucy would have been overjoyed.’
This was just the beginning of Lucy’s career, which included illustrating the children’s book, Black Beauty.
Her large oil ‘Gypsy Horses’, also in the Russell-Cotes Gallery, is shown in this photo being admired by Barry Miles, author and watercolour artist, and Peter Frost, painter, professional printer and retired New Forest Verderer.
There is something different to see at every turn in the Russell-Cotes Gallery – paintings, marble busts, Japanese incense burners, memorabilia, painted ceilings, stained glass, mosaic work and bronzes, all collected by the Russell-Cotes over the years from 1880 to 1901. Once after a trip to Japan, they travelled back with over 100 packing cases full of art and collectables!
The museum and gallery building, East Cliff Hall, was gloriously designed to the directions of Merton Russell-Cotes, as a gift to his wife. Its late Victorian style mixes Moorish, Japanese and French influences, making for exotic and indulgent surroundings.
It’s easy to find a piece to sit in front of and savour, and it’s also easy to miss a dozen others, but this makes it worth visiting again and again.
Apart from the paintings, which have been added to since 1902, the artwork that particularly took my eye on this visit was a glazed Parian ware figure of a boy, dressed in lederhosen and Tyrolean hat.
I used to make ceramic models of people and the largest I made was quite a challenge at about 12 inches tall.
This nearly life size figure was used for advertising in a dairy shop in Austria.
How did the artist make such a perfectly detailed piece of such size and how was it transported from pottery to shop, and then from country to country to arrive at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery?
I was also intrigued by the story of Laura Knight, who in the early 1930s used to drive out to gypsy encampments and set up her ‘studio’ in the back of her Rolls-Royce.
Here you can see only a part of her large canvas ‘The Little Beggar’.
Laura Knight’s most notable work is ‘The Nuremberg Trial‘. This thought-provoking painting is at The Imperial War Museum, London.
This only touches on the artwork at the gallery and museum.
Next time you’re in Bournemouth, why not get away from the beach and walk up East Cliff to the art gallery and museum. It will be well worth it!
In the town of Narni, Italy, lives the author, Maria Giulia Cotini, who this summer was directing I Ragazzi Pon Pon (The Cheerleaders) in their performance of her play Giullarino Mingherlino (The Skinny Jester).
This was part of the children’s holiday activities, where they got together to learn more about their town’s history and link it with places around the world.
Maria Giulia is also the author of the book, Shotaro – the child who wanted to become a Samurai.
Just like Little Knoll Press author, Anthony Ridgway, Maria Giulia has been disabled from birth, but for both of them this has been no bar to imagination and achievement.
Shotaro is written in Italian and is available as a hardback book (ISBN: 9788804674610) and e-book.
Here is a translation of the blurb:
‘Shotaro is intelligent and stubborn, and he refuses to accept that his greatest dream (to become a Samurai like his father) is unattainable. Shotaro is disabled from birth and his father decided he would become a monk.
The rōnin, Kenya, arrives at the monastery and declares he is willing to train even him.
But when the terrible Daimyō destroy Shotaro’s home village and his father disappears, Shotaro’s life is turned upside down and everything seems lost.
In ancient Japan, a country marred by war and corruption, Shotaro is able to demonstrate, with courage and determination, that you don’t need a perfect body to make a man into a warrior.’
And here is some more about Maria Giulia:
Maria Giulia Cotini was born in 1980; disabled from birth, she does not walk and has problems with her hands, sight and hearing.
Maria Giulia has been in love with the martial arts since a child, and at the age of ten she was the first child with a disability to practice karate in the gym with the able-bodied.
Working on her knees, she adapted the techniques up to competition standards, which was previously considered impossible.
Always passionate about myths and legends, Maria Giulia graduated with honours in History of Religions.
Anthony Ridgway’s latest story
and the Seaside Adventure
– pure adventure, Enid Blyton-style
– children on their own quest
– Wizzy, the talking wheelchair with attitude
– animal magic with Honey, the dog
– watercolour illustrations by Suzan Houching
What young readers from a Worcestershire school think …
I love the idea of Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure. It’s very creative. My favourite part was where the policemen were puffed out from climbing the cliff.
Other children will love this book and the adventures they have together. All of the characters have great personalities.
The cover is very clever and it shows you the setting of the story. Wizzy is a funny wheelchair with an attitude and your story’s hilarious. Dan is a clever boy, who’s adventurous. James is a kind, helpful and brave boy. Sophie is shy and can get nervous quite easily, and startled. Honey is a very loud, sweet and loving dog.
Keeping writing more stories.
My favourite character is Wizzy because he was really funny and cheeky.
I found it funny how the wheelchair Wizzy never understood any of the catch phrases.
I found Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure really funny and it’s my favourite book now.
This book is filled with funny and interesting things and I would recommend this book to any child.
I thought that Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure was full of humour.
I like how Wizzy doesn’t understand sayings and phrases.
My favourite part was where the dog peed on Wizzy’s wheel.
I like the part about the dog peeing on Wizzy’s wheel.
My favourite part of the story is when the dog sniffs Wizzy’s wheel, then wees on him.
I really love your book so much. I think it is very good and it makes me and my class laugh a lot.
ADVENTURE and CREATIVITY
I’m really impressed that you can create a book like that.
Wizzy, especially, was a very good detective in the book.
Pete is really bossy and it’s lucky those thieves didn’t get away. I can imagine the manor house and the pirate coming for me – gives me the chills!
Your story was wonderful. It made me want to have more adventures.
I really liked how you put in a wheelchair in to your story, called Wizzy.
Wizzy is my favourite character because he is like a robot but in wheelchair form. Honey is one of my favourite dogs. Dan is very funny because he really gets into it and can be very clever like Wizzy.
I loved how you made Wizzy so full of himself and how he always has to get everything right. I also liked how you put in more than one character and said not only what the children were doing but put in what Honey the dog was doing.
I liked how Wizzy is funny, Dan is very cheeky, Sophie is very cautious, James is very caring, Pete and Cindy are very mysterious and Honey the dog is very energetic.
In most books I feel like I’m about to fall asleep but with this book I felt very alive. My favourite character was Dan because he was very brave and wanted to get on with everything. I like how you put Dan into a wheelchair.
I really like how Wizzy thinks he’s better than Honey and is jealous of her.
My favourite character is Wizzy because he’s such a bighead.
I loved Wizzy and Sophie because Wizzy is such an amazing, cool wheelchair. I could not believe he could talk. He is also very smart, just like you. I also like the part when Sophie likes Wizzy, but then does not – it is like changing the weather.
USING TECHNOLOGY / SURPRISE
I loved the part where Wizzy made a hologram of a pirate and scared Cindy.
My favourite part was when Wizzy used the projector to pretend to be a pirate and scared Pete and Cindy away.
I wonder what it would be like to have a wheelchair like Wizzy – a friend to Dan and is always there for him.
I would like to have a talking chair like Wizzy.
The illustrations a very cool but my favourite drawing is the pirate.
Your next book could be about Wizzy feeling ill or about Pete and Cindy stealing her.
In your next book I think there should be another kid in a wheelchair.
Your next Wizzy and Dan could go to the zoo.
I think you’re ready to be the greatest author in history.
TO BUY THE BOOK click Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure
Autumn, the time of year for the Beaulieu Road Station pony sales, when Commoners and other horse and pony owners gather to sell their livestock by auction.
It’s a good place to buy a New Forest filly or colt, to meet friends or simply to enjoy an atmosphere that is as old as the New Forest itself.
You may also see spirited cobs, favoured by Romani folk for their patience and strength, being put through their paces under the trees beside the auction ring.
The working horse has always fascinated local artist, Alan Langford. Featured here is his large oil painting of Beaulieu Road pony sales.
Alan’s book, WELGORA, provides Alan’s fascinating autobiography and full page spread pictures of his beautiful oil and watercolour paintings.
For more about the book click on title – WELGORA
The Tall Ships sail training vessel, Challenger 7, graced this year’s Southampton Boat Show with her presence, reminding me of Maldwin Drummond OBE, who is unfortunately not with us any more.
Maldwin was a keen and experienced sailor and a lifelong supporter of Sail Training, instrumental in building the STA schooners and Britain’s gift to Australia, STS Young Endeavour.
Little Knoll Press published Maldwin’s delightful children’s book, The Strange History of Seagulls, in November 2016. The book tells the history of the Waterside and Solent area – or rather George the seagull and his relations tell the story!
This beautiful, quirky book is fully illustrated by Maldwin. It starts with the Vikings arriving at Ashlett creek and traces the Waterside coastline’s story right through to the development of foil sailing on today’s racing boats.
More about the book – The Strange History of Seagulls
On 14th July 2018, a huge crowd gathered at The Point, Eastleigh, for the launch of Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure by author, Anthony Ridgway, and artist, Suzan Houching.
Among those attending were Sheila and David Suchet, Ros Holness and Tina Fanshawe.
Anthony gave a speech full of humour, praising his mother, Grethe, as his ‘harshest critic’, and thanking Barbara Large for helping him hone his writing skills.
David and Sheila Suchet read a section from Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure, and Wizzy the wheelchair, of course got a look in, making a phone call half way through the reading!
Tina Fanshawe’s horse, Nellie, was the inspiration for the plot in Anthony’s first book, Wizzy the Animal Whisperer. In Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure, Honey, the dog, shows the same empathy, helping the children bring to justice some rascally thieves.
Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure – book launch photos
More than 90 people attended the launch of 'Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure' on July 14th 2018, at The Point, Eastleigh.
Anthony announces his new book 'Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure'. From left to right - Sheila and David Suchet, Ros Holness, Jane Ridgway, Anthony Ridgway, Grethe Ridgway, Suzan Houching.
Children love the Wizzy books. They can be read again and again and enjoyed for the adventure story, the fabulous illustrations and the funny moments created by Wizzy the hi-tech wheelchair not understanding the idiom of human speech.
Tina Fanshawe, the owner of Nellie the horse who took Anthony for a ride when on holiday and inspired his first book, 'Wizzy the Animal Whisperer', posing with Anthony and Grethe Ridgway.
Suzan Houching shows her portfolio of original watercolour paintings for 'Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure'.
The beautifully illustrated large format Wizzy books can be read again and again and enjoyed at many levels – for the adventure story, for the fabulous pictures, to read out loud or to read in your head … although it’s hard not to laugh out loud at the funny moments created by Wizzy the hi-tech wheelchair, who takes everything literally and cannot understand the idiom of human speech.
Click here to buy Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure ISBN: 9780993507878
Click here to find out how Anthony writes.
If you are from a school or retail outlet and would like to know more, please contact Jenny on email@example.com
Gwenllian, the last native Princess of Wales, was born on June 12th 1282.
Hers was a dramatic entry to this world – her father, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, was in hiding from King Edward’s men, and her mother, Eleanor de Montfort, died shortly after giving birth. Who was to look after the little princess?
In the first chapter of Owl at Midnight Patricia Lennan describes Gwenllian’s dramatic entry to this world.
Here below is a taster from the book:
Garth Celyn, Abergwyngregyn, Gwynedd
The whole court was in panic. Olwen, the midwife, was desperately trying to display an air of calm and control; her Lady was slipping away and her Lord had not arrived. Lady Eleanor had been in labour for two days and still the babe was not born. Olwen had not left her side and was near to exhaustion, but how could she complain when her Lady was in agony and had barely the strength to talk. It had been a long hot night and the morning sun was beginning to filter through the high window, promising an even hotter day.
“The head is coming. You must push now, My Lady. Hold on, one big push and we should be there.”
Celeste, Eleanor’s faithful servant and friend, gripped her limp hand, soothing her forehead with a cool lavender-soaked cloth. “It’s nearly over, Eleanor. The babe is coming, be brave.”
The young maid, Catrin, hovered around the bed not knowing what to do or say, tears falling down her frightened face.
“Go and see if that physician is here, Catrin fach, and get more clean linen,” ordered Olwen. “Lord knows, we can’t do with tears at this stage.”
Catrin scuttled off not quite knowing what to do first. She rushed down the stairs via the kitchen to the laundry room, hearing Eleanor’s screams behind her. It was only a few minutes later as she climbed back up the stairs to the bed chamber holding a pile of fresh linen that she was aware of how quiet it was. Then, into the silence broke the mewl of a new-born.
“Thank heavens, the baby lives,” she muttered to herself as she crept back into the bedchamber.
Olwen sat on Eleanor’s bed, cradling the baby in her right arm and wiping tears away with her other hand. “Lord be praised, it’s a girl, a beautiful girl and she’s fine.”
But Eleanor lay still, she could barely raise her head or speak . . .
Want to read more?
Buy the book from Little Knoll Press
A NEW WIZZY STORY IS ON ITS WAY!
Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure
Last chance to come
to the BOOK LAUNCH of this super new book
Saturday 14th July 2018, 10.30am – 12.30pm, The Point, Eastleigh.
RSVP to Jenny@LittleKnollPress.co.uk
< launch invitation
more about the book >
You can also watch a video showing Anthony Ridgway and Suzan Houching at work:
To buy the book
Palembang and Beyond
by Mike Roussel
Mike Roussel brings together in this book a fascinating record of the British Pacific Fleet during the Second World War, in particular the closing years of conflict with Japan and the cruel fate meted out on the Palembang Nine after surrender on VJ Day.
The BOOK LAUNCH – a reunion
Saturday 14th April 2018
A rare reunion of Second World War veterans from the Fleet Air Arm took place at the book launch of Palembang and Beyond, held at The Museum of Army Flying – rare because of the great age reached by these veterans, who are now all in their late nineties.
They were young during the war, aged eighteen to twenty, and their active service took place during the early years of the RAF, which was newly formed in April 1918. Their stories are told within Palembang and Beyond, a new book by shipping and aviation author, Mike Roussel.
The book launch was supported by a large group of guests who came from as far afield as Devon.
The Rt Hon Dr Julian Lewis MP, who wrote the foreword for the book, also attended. He explained how his interest in military history and a chance conversation with Mike Roussel had triggered the writing of this book about the Pacific War.
Mike Roussel spoke at the launch about how he had ‘discovered as it were by accident, three gentlemen who were air crew with Fleet Air Arm 849 Squadron’. In writing the book, Mike travelled to interview Arthur Page, Norman ‘Dickie’ Richardson and John ‘Buster’ Brown, all of whom had all flown in the bombing raids on the Palembang oil refineries. He also heard from them about their fellow airmen who never came home from the war, among them the captured air crew known as the Palembang Nine who were cruelly executed by the Japanese after the surrender on VJ Day.
It took Mike just over a year to complete the research and writing of Palembang and Beyond. During that time he transcribed the veterans’ stories for inclusion in the book and gathered from them many of the 151 photographs that are published there for the first time. The photos give fascinating insights into the type of aircraft and the terrain over which the Fleet Air Arm fought, showing how challenging the air offensive was in the Pacific War.
Attending the launch were veterans Dr Arthur Page, who was an Avenger pilot, and Norman ‘Dickie’ Richardson DSM, TAG (Telegraphist Air Gunner) who flew with Arthur. John ‘Buster’ Brown, who was also an Avenger pilot with 849 Squadron, lives in Yorkshire and was unable to come the distance. His brother, Michael Brown, represented him and brought his greetings and his wishes that he could have been there.
Julian Lewis in paying tribute to the veterans, said, “It is absolutely typical of this generation that they do not brag or boast in any way. For instance, it was only from other people and not from Norman himself that I discovered he’d been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for the Palembang raid. Mike has done terrific work in making sure that their stories live for all time, without which they would be lost to history.”
The book’s publisher, Jenny Knowles of Little Knoll Press agreed. “I believe it’s important that these stories should be told, because history easily gets rewritten and it can’t be rewritten if it is truly from a memoir. These precious gentlemen, the clarity of their memories and the importance of the things that they remember really should be there for people to know about in the future and now.”