Blandford Museum brings to a close this year’s displays with an exhibition throughout October of the work of Herbert Choat, loaned from his son Richard Choat.
After studying at Portsmouth School of Art in 1928-1933 Herbert Choat's life, like many of his generation, was interrupted by military service during the Second World War. He served in Egypt and the Western desert with the Royal West Africa Frontier Force.
Following this he had a distinguished career in London as a commercial artist in the advertising and print industry. He never lost touch with observing the world around him. This often took the form of easel paintings which he exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and elsewhere.
The Blandford Museum exhibition is a small representation of his work including this painting of Portsmouth naval dockyard painted in 1964.
All Different All Dorset
A touring exhibition which celebrates multi-ethnic Dorset through images and stories was launched at Blandford Museum on the 1st September 2011. The exhibition has been produced as part of an Arts project, All Different, All Dorset, and is supported by Arts Council England and Dorset County Council.
The project was set up by local writer and poet Louisa Adjoa Parker, who is British but has Ghanaian heritage. She has been running the project and holding photography and story-telling workshops across Dorset with photographer Martin Coyne. Louisa set up the project to raise the profile of the increasing black and minority ethnic community in Dorset in a positive way.
Louisa says of the project, "We are here, these are our stories, we are contributing to the community and have every right to belong here. There have been a few incidents of physical racial abuse, but if the community can read our stories and see the beautiful images maybe this fantastic county can move closer to ending racism and discrimination the majority of which comes from ignorance, not hatred. There is a very strong stereotype of what a Dorset person should be, and the fact is that we are all different in many ways."
The exhibition was held at Blandford Museum from Thursday 1st until Tuesday 27th September 2011.
Frank Finn lives in Blandford. His paintings reflect the landscape of Dorset and beyond. Many are based upon Cranborne Chase and the Purbecks, exploring the landscape and the forces that help to form it. Encapsulating moments of energy, when the force of elements interact with the land or sea, drawing us into the experience and drowning our sensations. They explore how the landscape is defined by man made forms, fields and other boundaries.
The majority of the paintings use acrylic on canvas board. They follow careful research of the subject, including sketches and photographs made during visits. These are then put aside during the painting process, which aims to capture only essential features. There is frequent overpainting and removal of painted surfaces to expose sub-layers of paint. The viewer is not presented with a single viewpoint of the subject, but with levels of view that combine understandings of the scene. Images are frequently blurred, leaving viewers to draw and apply their own sensibilities onto the work.
Frank Finn studied at Exeter College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London. He has taught in schools in Cornwall, the Midlands, Weymouth College of Education and at Bournemouth University, where he was Head of the School of Media Arts and Communication
More examples of Frank Finn’s paintings and contact details can be found on his website www.frankfinn.co.uk
James and Peggy Allardyce
James 1908-1986 and Peggy 1908-1999 Allardyce were students together at the Royal College of Art in the early 1930s and lived in Chelsea until they were evacuated to Dorset in 1940, where they remained for the rest of their lives.
After the war James was art master in various local schools and Peggy sometimes deputised for him.
In 1940s they joined the Forum Club, an association of mainly professional artists and from 1950 onwards their home and studio in River Lane, Charlton Marshall became a gathering place for artists, eccentrics and all-comers.
Towards the end of his life James’s life-drawing classes were much valued by a number of artists who today are some of Dorset's leading painters, printmakers and sculptors. He is remembered with respect and affection.
James, a skilled and gifted draughtsman, concentrated mainly on portraiture and architectural subjects and became a passionate advocate for the preservation of historic buildings. Peggy's style of painting differed markedly from that of her husband and her paintings are now distributed within family collections.
This small selection of work in Blandford precedes a much larger exhibition, organised by Vivienne Light, to be held in Dorchester Museum in October 2011 to coincide with the publication this autumn of Vivienne Light's latest book ‘Art and Life in the Shadow of the Chase’, which explores the threads and interconnections of artistic lives touched by Cranborne Chase and its environs.
At the beginning of the Second World War Margaret’s parents moved to Dorset. As a teenager Margaret often cycled to see her uncle, James Allardyce, who lived in Charlton Marshall. Margaret studied art at Bournemouth Art School and then Goldsmiths College where she met her future husband Derek Cooper.
Part time teaching and bringing up a family became her way of life together with her own painting and exhibiting both in London and on moving back to Dorset on Derek’s retirement .
Derek and Margaret were part of the committee of artists that founded Dorset Arts Weeks.