Summer Term at the Mount House

The Mount House Gallery hosted three exhibitions this Summer Term. One of the gallery walls was painted bright pink for ‘Marlborough Open Studios’ which showcases the work of over 50 artists and makers who will be exhibiting their work throughout the region this summer. This is a hugely popular event with hundreds of visitors to the gallery and the four private views.

Next, an exhibition from the collection of Mike Yates, on the now-defunct local potteries at Ramsbury and Cricklade. After discussion, he suggested we ought to show some studio ceramics in contrast to everyday ware. His extensive collection includes important potters from throughout the UK and abroad. Local makers included Diana Barraclough, Geoffrey Eastop and one time ceramics tutor in the College Art Department, Stephen Murfitt. The many students who visited the show were able to see a breadth of techniques which encouraged discussion on the value of skill and the use of an object contrasted with its ornamentation and aesthetic. “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” as William Morris said. Ken Matsuzaki, Ray Finch, Alan Walwork, Bernard Rooke, Elspeth Owen, Katharine Pleydell-Bouverie and Mo Jupp were also among a line-up of potters that drew in visitors from far and wide, including studio pottery groups keen to see the variety of work.

Artist in residence, Timothy Betjeman has often been seen painting and drawing around the school this year. In part homage to his grandfather, former Poet Laureate and OM Sir John Betjeman, Tim has been visiting many sites made familiar to millions in such poems as ‘Summoned by Bells’, yet seen for the first time by him. Painting in the chapel two to three days a week allowed Tim to show the various guises of the historic building: quiet and shy at daybreak; well-lit and welcoming at dusk. The result was a study in light and in liturgy; showing the chapel as a meeting space, a place of worship and part of a busy school. There were close-ups of the altar, the vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows, all rendered in a combination of dense impasto and light, gestural work—many paintings being scratched back into, to articulate ornamental detail. Tim’s gentle and positive presence around school will be much missed and we all wish him well for his next artistic challenge in Japan and look forward to seeing the art he makes there.

Ray Ward
Coordinator of Visual Art

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