Artists inspired by the New Forest

You might like to know that three popular books have been reduced in price here on this website.

These great books (links below) provide happy distraction in a worrying time and will tempt you to visit our beautiful New Forest where there is lots of wide open space.

3 artist’s books

A-Lifetime-in-Postcards

A Lifetime in Postcards by Gervase A Gregory

My-Story-in-Colour

My Story in Colour by Suzan Houching

WelgoraWELGORA by Alan Langford

 

Jack Hargreaves’ favourite books

Jack’s fan photo

Jack Hargreaves is best known to us as the face and voice of the television series Out of Town and Old Country.

Born in 1911, Jack started his long media career in 1931, writing technical material for Unilever Livestock Foods. He then became a feature journalist for The Express and The Mirror, moving on to work as a journalist for early radio, a copywriter for an advertising agency and a variety show writer for the Windmill Theatre and the Fortune Theatre. All of this was before he was called up in 1939 to the Royal Artillery, where eventually he was given the task of developing forces radio.

Jack second from left, wearing the bow tie

After the War, Jack was asked by BBC television to gather details of battles so they could collate the film material they had from various theatres of war. In 1946 he went on to write scripts and plays for BBC radio broadcast, and then worked for Picture Post before moving on to the National Farmers’ Union.  It was Rosser Reeves who started Jack’s television career, head hunting him for his company Hobson Bates.

Jack’s influence was profound through the formative years of independent television right up to the mid 1980s when the Old Country series was made for Channel 4.  It’s not surprising that he was a great lover of books and even found the time to write some:



Jack also had some favourite books to which he referred and some, mentioned in his biography Jack’s Country, are still obtainable today:




There are over 130 titles in the Collins New Naturalist Library series. The range can be appreciated by the unfinished list below:

Garden Birds, Uplands and Birds, Pembrokeshire, Ferns, Gulls, British Bats, Lichens, Dragonflies, Early Humans, Vegetation of Britain and Ireland, The Soil, The Natural History of Orkney, Hedgehog, British Tits, Nature Conservation, Sea Birds, Mosses and Liverworts, The World of the Honeybee, The British Amphibians and Reptiles, Marches, Terns, Wild Orchids of Britain, Cormorants and Shags, Mountains and Moorlands, Wye Valley, Farming and Birds, Butterflies, The Natural History of Shetland, Southern England, Gower, Shallow Seas, the Redstart, Wildfowl, The Folklore of Birds, The Herring Gull’s World, Grass and Grassland, Lords and Ladies, Life in Lakes and Rivers, Britain’s Structure and Scenery, Farming and Wildlife, Trees, Woods and Man, The Natural History of Pollination, Moths, The New Forest, British Warblers, The Natural History of Wales, Waders, Slugs and Snails, British Thrushes, The Isles of Scilly, The Hebrides, Hedges, British Seals, The Broads, Wild Flowers of Chalk and Limestone, The Snowdonia National Park, Seashore, Sea-Birds, Beetles, …………..

World Book Day 2020 – Jack Hargreaves

It’s WORLD BOOK DAY today!

With the rain coming out of the sky again, I wonder how many of you will be buying a new book or re-reading a favourite book?

Jack with Ghost

Jack Hargreaves was a great lover of words and books. He read and wrote a lot, but most of us remember him in his TV programmes, Out of Town and Old Country.

Jack had an amazing ability to weave a story from the most ordinary of scenes. 

Gone Fishing

He saw and knew things about the people and workings of the countryside, and long before ‘green’ issues were highlighted, he understood the threats that modern life was bringing to the environment.

This understanding was rooted in the deep love of the countryside that he developed as a child, a love that he discovered due to the wise actions of his mother.

 

ISBN: 9780992722043

In the book Jack’s Country the author Paul Peacock writes about Jack’s troubled childhood days:

Jack – a studio portrait

‘Jack seemed unable to settle down, obey orders or even behave in a civilised manner and his father was simply unable to understand him. Toys would be thrown, windows smashed and every attempt to correct this seemed doomed to failure, resulting in yet more delinquency. The situation was exacerbated by his father’s reaction to Jack, which he misunderstood to be proof of his dislike for him. Jack’s brother, Ron, suggested there might be a medical problem. Psychiatry was often the only recourse for the middle classes to deal with unusual behaviour. This was still the age of family committals to mental institutions and something prompted Jack’s mother to see if anything medical could be done. In her desperation, she took Jack to see a psychiatrist.

The visit was of little benefit. Jack was an extremely unhappy child and he did not respond favourably to being addressed by a stuffy old psychiatrist. He would probably have remained so if his mother had dismissed an inkling of something special she saw in him. Jack frequently spent long hours, even as a very young boy, wandering the lanes and fields of what has now become known as West Yorkshire’s Last of the Summer Wine country, exploring fields and scaling hills.

It was this knowledge that brought her to believe he might enjoy a holiday on a farm. The family had a long term friendship with a south country farmer and so at length he became a guest of a friend of the family at the farm of Victor Pargeter. This man was to become one of the key influences for a character referred to as the ‘Old Man’ in Jack’s later writings.’

Jack Hargreaves – Dave and Steve recall working on ‘Out of Town’ and ‘Old Country’

A new video about Jack Hargreaves is on its way.

This week Dave Knowles and Steve Wagstaff met in Jack’s barn in Dorset to talk about working with Jack on his Southern Television series Out of Town and the further series Old Country.

Standing in the barn where Jack had recorded the links for the last series of Out of Town programmes* brought back lots of memories to their recorded conversation.  (*These were made using film originally shot but unused in Southern Television’s broadcast Out of Town.)

I met Jack quite a few times when he was working with Dave and Steve, and I edited and published the book Jack’s Country, so I had read about his early life, his time during WW2 and his part in early broadcast radio and television, but I didn’t know many of the things that they recalled. Jack had an easy way about him and a keen interest in life so he appeared much younger than he was. It was a surprise when I edited the book to find he was born in 1911. Perhaps a beard disguises the age of a man – I found out Jack’s thought on this from Dave and Steve’s discussion! 

Jack Hargreaves was a complex and knowledgeable man; most importantly he was a good communicator who could bring magic to tales about everyday country stories.

To see a little trailer about the video to come – click on this photo

Equestrian Artist’s Inspiration

 

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An inspiring visit

to the

Russell-Cotes

Art Gallery & Museum

Bournemouth

 

 

 

Alan Langford contemplates ‘The Gypsy Horse Drovers’ by Lucy Kemp-Welch

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.

 

 

Lucy Kemp-Welch sketching The Gypsy Drovers on her paint box lid – Illustration by Alan Langford in his book ‘WELGORA

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.’

 

One of the group inspecting the small head of a horse by Lucy Kemp-Welch. (On the other side of this picture is mounted Lucy’s paint box lid with the sketch for ‘The Gypsy Horse Drovers’)

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?

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Part of the scene depicted in ‘The Gypsy Horse Drovers’ by Lucy Kemp-Welch

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.’

Barry Miles and Peter Frost discuss ‘Gypsy Horses’ by Lucy Kemp-Welch

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This was just the beginning of Lucy’s career, which included illustrating the children’s book, Black Beauty.

(There are links below to buy a beautiful edition of the book Black Beauty illustrated by Lucy Kemp-Welch and prints of the illustrations.)

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.

 

Near life size boy in Parian ware

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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?

 

A part of the painting ‘The Little Beggar’ by Laura Knight

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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!

 

WELGORA – Wickham Horse Fair 2019

Wickham Horse Fair

WELGORA

(WELGORA is the Romani word for Horse Fair)

By ancient charter of King Henry III, 1269

2019 and still an unmissable event!

 

WELGORA – ISBN: 9780992722067

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In his book

WELGORA

artist Alan Langford writes:

‘I have visited Wickham Horse Fair, in Hampshire, more times than I can remember.

Alan greets a friendly cob.

There has been an annual Charter Fair at Wickham since the thirteenth century, always in late spring, and always, at least in my recollection, a rewarding experience.

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Wickham Fair – large oil painting on canvas by Alan Langford.

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The square becomes a busy profusion of merry-go-rounds, bumper cars and other fairground paraphernalia. A section of the Fareham to Winchester road is closed to traffic and used as a ‘flashing lane’ by the Romani horse traders.

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If you are fascinated by skilled bareback riding then there is no other event, at least in Britain, to compare with it. They are followed by horse-drawn sulkies, their drivers often leading more horses behind them.

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The confidence with which the lads and raklis rush down the gradual slope of the flashing lane, mounted on their coloured Vanners with no saddles or hard hats and unforgiving tarmac underfoot, though dangerously reckless, is also skilfully impressive.

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They are followed by horse-drawn sulkies, their drivers often leading more horses behind them.’

 

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John – see below.

Among the characters I notice when studying the milieu of visitors, those that are of Romani extraction differ in both posture and expression from the curious clusters of the local gorgias.

Many of the Romani are possessed of weathered strong-featured countenances, suggesting a long ancestry of tough individualism.’

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Watch Alan at Wickham Romany Horse Fair (WELGORA) 2019

The 2019 Welgora at Wickham was no exception, as full of excitement and life as ever.

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Horses are brought from as far afield as Birmingham and Newcastle.

High-trotting, coloured horses with big feathered feet are favoured by the Romanies.

Mugs and caddies illustrated with paintings by Alan Langford.

John has been coming to Wickham Fair for 70 years.

A pretty driving horse.

WELGORA and Beaulieu Road pony sales

Beaulieu Road pony sales – oil painting by Alan Langford.

 

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.

Welgora-03

An Early Lesson – sketch by Alan Langford.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more about the book click on title – WELGORA

 

Maldwin Drummond lifelong supporter of Tall Ships

Tall Ship Challenger 7 graces the Southampton Boat Show 2018.

 

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 passing Cape Horn on his round-the-world sailing trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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