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FLAG News:

NEWSLETTER - August 2017

April 2012 – June 2017

Message from Marian

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the enormous number of cards and letters which we have received from FLAG members following Graham's sudden death.

We have been overwhelmed by your kind words - it’s truly wonderful to hear people’s memories and to discover how highly Graham was regarded by FLAG members. I know that he loved being part of the organisation and that he treasured the many friends he made there. Unfortunately there have been too many cards and letters to reply to individually but please be assured that each one was greatly appreciated by our family at this difficult time.

I am looking forward to remaining a member of FLAG and to seeing you all at talks and on trips in the coming months.



I feel very fortunate to have worked with Graham as his Vice Chairman of FLAG for five years.

For many years Graham served on the National Trust Association Committee arranging numerous programmes and visits.

After joining FLAG, Graham worked tirelessly arranging holidays, lectures and excursions. Graham was elected as Chairman in 2012 and our membership and attendance at meetings increased significantly. Dormer Hall became our regular meeting place to accommodate our new members.

Graham’s dedication to the success of FLAG was an example to us all. His knowledge of the arts, his turn of phrase and use of the English language will be greatly missed.

2017 was the 50th anniversary of the formation of FLAG and Graham was delighted to preside over the celebrations, culminating in the Tea Party and presentation of the Terry Frost Maquette.

I have agreed to be Acting Chairman until the next AGM in April, although Graham will be an almost impossible act to follow, but I will do my best until the AGM. Graham's dedication to his role as chairman was an example to us all.

Clive Nelson


I first came across Graham when I joined FLAG. I gradually became aware that he had a fan club – you had to be quick to get on his excursions and Study Days.

When Graham became Chairman in 2012 it was a great pleasure to get to know him and to work together, organising our excursions, speakers and the running of FLAG. He always had excellent ideas for excursions, knew how to get there and where to stop for coffee!

As Chairman he contributed so much to FLAG, apart from the obvious things that we saw, he did so much extra to ensure the smooth running of all our events and the Friends in general. His friendly, approachable manner was a delight. The committee also appreciated his ability for communication and leadership, he always said the right thing – often with his light touch of humour.

Graham, although very modest, was unfailingly kind, patient, supportive and very wise.

He will be greatly missed.



There are so many ways in which Graham enriched my life since I met him and Marian on first moving to Warwick/Leamington. Not only through his wise, gentle, utterly professional Chairing of FLAG meetings but also through the insights he brought to his study sessions on varied artistic themes, he enabled me to see below the surface of the pictures I had looked at with happiness but not always with understanding. I remember once he said "Stand on your head if you like but try to see the picture from more than one angle or perspective." I've been trying to do that ever since with varying degrees of success. For that insight and for his humour, never malicious, I feel privileged to have known him, however briefly.



As a relatively new member of FLAG I feel it is important to emphasise how well I was welcomed by Graham and everyone. Graham was always ready to spend time with people and more importantly to listen to them.






A Day in Ely including Cathedral & Stained Glass Museum

Wednesday 11th OCTOBER

Visit to Windsor Castle


The Musical Theatre of Gilbert & Sullivan. Bernard Lockett, will give us an overview and assessment of the works. His lifetime passion should make this an enjoyable evening, illustrated, we hope, by DVD and CD.


Shakespeare’s New Place. New Place in Stratford upon Avon, the site of Shakespeare’s Family Home from 1597-1616, reopened in 2016 after 18 months of conservation and development. A member of the staff will be telling us about the history, gardens and specially commissioned sculptures that bring Shakespeare’s works and influences to life.


Our Christmas meeting with seasonal refreshments, as usual, "the Queenes pickture" Portraits of Elizabeth I. Gill White needs no introduction, we have had some splendid talks by her in the past and this will be another one!

at 2.30pm –

The Arts & Crafts Movement in the Cotswolds. Sarah McCormick Healy is Curator of the Court Barn Museum in Chipping Campden. This Museum is celebrating 10 years, going from a disused barn to an award winning Museum, which tells the story of designers/craftspeople from the Arts and Crafts movement and their legacy.


– Folded in Dreams. Ted Watson gave us a most entertaining talk a while ago and he has kindly agreed to return once more, before he retires. This is an evocative account of how he discovered the poetry of E. Margaret Buckle and set it to music.

Lyn, Aug 2017


Our evening meetings take place at 7.30pm in St Peter’s Conference Centre, Dormer Place. There is car parking on the street in Dormer Place and St Peter’s Car Park, just round the corner, in Augusta Place. The small car park at the centre is reserved for church members.



Our President Mo Enright with guests: Hilary Bostock, First Chairman of Flag & David Guilding, Arts Manager WDC

Chloe Johnson, Rob Devereux, Anthony Frost, Ann Morrison

Enjoying ourselves...

Photos by Clive Nelson



Our two visits to Derby earlier in the year were very successful. When we visit Cathedrals and Art Galleries with no admission charge we always give a donation on behalf of FLAG. Linda, our Treasurer, did this at Derby where the Art Gallery suggested that we a bought a bird in their 'Buy a Bird' campaign. Our bird is now in place on the wall at Derby Museum and Art Gallery with our name underneath where it will stay for a year.

Those of us on the Wednesday visit will be pleased to hear that Johnsons were most apologetic about the condition of the coach and its late arrival. We were given a reduction on another booking which we were pleased to accept.

Derby Cathedral has the second highest perpendicular church tower in England.

There many examples of fine ironwork by ironsmith Robert Bakewell 1682 -1752.


In 1745 The Prince and his Jacobite followers successfully fought their way south until they reached Derby, where they stayed until the town ran out of bread and beer! But Several divisions of the English army had been withdrawn from the Continent.

The Silk Museum was closed the day we visited.

Photos from Ken Alexander



In May we visited Perrycroft an Arts and Crafts House Designed by CFA Voysey and built in 1895. It is set in magnificent scenery on the west side of the Malvern Hills with views towards Wales.

Dining Room

Chirk Castle has been occupied virtually continuously as a castle/stately home for almost 700 years, it has magnificent views.

Berkeley Castle, another very old lived-in castle...

Photos from Clive Nelson


Art Gallery & Museum News


The year began with our Journey through Japan exhibition (20 January-2 April) which showcased items from the diverse range of Japanese objects in Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum’s own collection alongside photographs from the collection at the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, London.

In April Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum was delighted to present its Biennial OPEN exhibition, a showcase of recent works by artists living and working in the West Midlands (13 April – 25 June 2017). For the first time we introduced an online submission element allowing artists to choose whether they submit their work online or in person. From 2019 the first stage of the OPEN submissions will be entirely digital.

The works in this exhibition, and the winner of the OPEN 2017 award were selected by an independent panel of judges: Katharine Barker, Chair of the Association of Midland Artists and a locally based, practising artist, working mainly in ceramics and textiles; Louise Campbell, Emeritus Professor of History of Art at the University of Warwick and a trustee of the Hosking Houses Trust which awards arts fellowships to women; Robert Wenley, Deputy Director and Head of Collections at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, where he has worked since 2010. He was previously a fine art curator at the Burrell Collection, Glasgow and the Wallace Collection, London. The judges decided to split the prize money and awarded both of the winners £500 each. The winners were: Wendy Campbell Briggs with her ceramic piece Lacrimae Rerum VIII (Tears of Things) and Nicola Durrant with her painting Storm Clouds Approaching.

We would like to thank FLAG for supporting this exhibition. The funds went towards supporting the People’s Choice Award. The winner of this £500 prize was artist Annabel Rainbow with her quilt, Self-portrait in the third person.

Our current exhibition:

This exhibition brings together some of the finest drawings of the human figure in the Arts Council Collection with loans from the British Council Collection. It begins in the early twentieth century with Gwen John’s delicate lines, the intricate patterns of Harold Gilman and the precision of William Roberts. Mid-twentieth-century works include the whimsical lines of George Fullard and John Golding and the bold markings of Frank Auerbach and John Bratby. The story is brought up to the present with the imaginary figures of Charles Avery and Mimei Thompson. Perhaps some of the most surprising examples are those from very early on in artists’ careers, such as a self-portrait by Richard Hamilton from 1938, the carefully drawn Mrs Ash Asleep, 1952 by Howard Hodgkin and Eduardo Paolozzi’s Drawings from Rembrandt, 1945.

We are also working on our forthcoming exhibition The Benevolent Despot: Alderman Alfred Holt (1858 – 1943) and the foundation of Leamington Art Gallery which is being supported by FLAG.

The exhibition will open on 29 September with Friday Focus Extra talk by curator Jeff Watkin.


In the area by the hamman we currently are showing an animated film about The Aylesford Well. It was made by film maker Chris Bradley of Willowman Productions as part of the Let’s Get Animated project established and supported by West Midlands Museum Development at Ironbridge and the Arts Council. The animation was made using archive photographs and images of objects from the collection. Staff and volunteers devised the story, made the models and wrote the script, which, with some artistic licence, tells the history of Leamington Spa and explains the significance of the well basin, which recently underwent conservation funded by FLAG. The voiceover was recorded by Year 6 pupils from St Peter’s Catholic Primary School.

In the mezzanine display area we are installing a display and film also made by Christopher Bradley of Willowmann Productions, which was funded by West Midlands Museum Development. It is the result of a project around developing relationships with local LGBT+ groups to uncover the hidden LGBT+ Stories in our collections and tell the stories of the contemporary experience of LGBT+ Leamington.

A trail is now on display in the main Art Gallery to commemorate FLAG’s 50th Anniversary. Ten items from the fine art and social history collections which were acquired with support from FLAG or have undergone conservation funded by FLAG are on display and a handout is available from the gallery desk.

The trail can also be accessed using an interactive audio guide designed for children and funded by West Midlands Museum Development Young visitors can collect a ‘boss cat’ pouch containing a mobile phone and listen to stories about the pictures as they walk around. The trail will be on display until the end of January 2018.

Luca Aird (the voice of Boss Cat) with Audio Guide


We are in the process of applying to the V&A Purchase Grant Fund for funds to buy two major works by Leamington based artists - Innocence Speaks of Light in Ways, 2012, by Simon Lewty and Dictionary of Silences, 2016 by Colin Hitchmough. We are very grateful to FLAG for supporting both applications with pledges.


The first half of the year has been dominated by the re-design of Warwick District Council’s Arts Service, which went ‘live’ on 1 February. David Guilding is now Arts Manager, looking after the Art Gallery & Museum, Spa Centre and Town Hall and managing four teams led by the named managers: Programming & Marketing (Laura Wyatt), Technical & Facilities (John Greet), Customer Services (Debbie Hanks) and Collections & Engagement (Chloe Johnson & Vicki Slade). There have been new appointments with Alice Swatton now working full-time as Art Curator and Lily Crowther and Huw Jones joining the team as part-time Human History Curators. Sally Larke started work at the end of May as part-time Learning & Engagement Officer. We look forward to welcoming Vicki back from maternity leave in October.

We were shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden death of Graham White, FLAG’s very active and inspiring Chairman. Graham was a wonderful friend to the Art Gallery & Museum, supportive, honest, broadminded and extremely kind. He will be hugely missed.

Chloe Johnson
July 2017