Monthly Archives: February 2012

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 7

Kenilworth Castle with cattle by Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding

Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding (1787 to 1855)
Kenilworth Castle with cattle
pre 1855

Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding was a popular and successful painter, particularly in watercolour. He exhibited over 600 works during his life. From the early 1800s Fielding made several tours around Britain painting landscapes.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Advertisements

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 6

William Brooke, Ancient Passage Leading to the Hall, 1819

William Brooke (1772 to 1860)
Ancient Passage leading to the Hall
1819

St Mary’s Guildhall was begun in 1340 by the merchant guild of St Mary. The building was soon also used by the mayor and governing body of the city, which was closely linked to the guild. It continued to be the city’s centre of administration until construction of the Council House was completed 1917. It hosted many royal visits and a royal prisoner – Mary Queen of Scots. More interesting historical facts about the Guildhall can be found on Coventry City Council’s website.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 5

Bablake School by Edith Gittins

Edith Gittins (1845 to 1910)
Bablake School
1868 – 1887

Edith Gittins was a social reformer who campaigned for women’s rights. She founded the Leicester Women’s Liberal Association and was an active member of the Women’s Suffrage movement.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 4

Jordan Well, Coventry by Sydney Bunney, 1916

Sydney Bunney (1877 to 1928)
Jordan Well, Coventry
June 8 1916

Sydney Bunney is best known for his accurate views of Coventry streets and buildings, painted between the 1890s and his death. The Herbert has over five hundred of his pencil and watercolour drawings of Coventry.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 3

 

Bayley Lane and 'The Cottage', Coventry by Herbert Cox, 1918

What do you think these men are talking about?

Herbert Cox (1869 to 1941)
Bayley Lane and ‘The Cottage’, Coventry
1918

Bayley Lane is one of the oldest streets in Coventry. The name was in use in the 1200s and probably comes from the bailey or outer defences of the castle which stood in this area in the 1100s and 1200s.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 2

Old Clopton Bridge, Stratford Upon Avon by William Quatremain

William Wells Quatremain (about 1858 to 1930)
Old Clopton Bridge, Stratford upon Avon
1919

Old Clopton Bridge, which has fourteen arches, was built about 1490. It still carries the main road over the River Avon.

William Quatremain also painted some views of Stratford for a popular booklet entitled ‘Shakespeare’s Stratford-on-Avon’ by J. Salmon, Art Printer, Sevenoaks. Quatremain had a bicycle adapted to carry his paint box, easel and stool.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 1

Paul Sandby, Entrance to Warwick Castle, about 1775

Paul Sandby (1725 to 1809)
The Entrance of Warwick Castle from the Lower Court, No. 2
about 1775

This aquatint was made by Paul Sandby, the first artist in England to use aquatint printmaking. In fact, Sandby created the name aquatint after refining an earlier etching technique. Using the aquatint process allows artists to etch a range of tones and create tonal effects similar to watercolours.

This work and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Celebrating the origins of public libraries in Coventry

This coming Saturday, February 4th, libraries all over the UK will celebrate the importance of libraries on National Libraries Day.

Many events have been organised in all different types of libraries across the country to support and raise the profile of libraries. Locally Coventry Libraries have organised several events.

Books and libraries have always been an important part of life in Coventry. Whilst there is evidence of earlier libraries the first public library in the city was created in the Old Grammar School in 1602. The library was open to both pupils and members of the public.

Gulson Library from Broadgate, 1905

Gulson Library from Broadgate, 1905

In 1791 the Coventry Library Society was established. The society met originally in a property near the Castle Inn, Broadgate and later at 29 Hertford Street. During this period there were other private, circulating libraries in the city and possibly a Ladies’ Book Society.

The Coventry Library Society flourished during the first half of the 1800s but went into decline during the 1860s, possibly due to the wider economic conditions in the city at the time (sound familiar?). It was decided the society could not continue so they offered their Hertford Street premises and collection of 17000 volumes to the corporation to a public library. The library was officially opened by the mayor John Gulson on 31st August 1868.

The Hertford Street premises soon became unsuitable and a new library, the Free Library was built on the site of the disused Coventy Gaol adjacent to County Hall. The library, opened on Wednesday 8th October, 1873, was funded by John Gulson, Samuel Carter, public subscription and the Committee of the Coventry and Midland Fine Art and Industrial Exhibition.

Just a year later another literary society, the Coventry Book Club, was formed in 1874. The club greatly supported the Free Library. They purchased books for their own use and then passed them on to the public library for a nominal fee.

Interior of Gulson Reference Library

Interior of Gulson Reference Library

By 1889 the number of volumes held by the public library had risen to 34,000 meaning yet again more space was needed. A new wing was built and opened in 1889 to house the reference library. The new wing was entirely funded by John Gulson and consequently the library became known as the Gulson Library.

The Gulson Library was badly damaged during the blitz of November 14 1940. However by keeping calm and carrying on a temporary library service was set up at the Methodist Central Hall in January 1942.

Ten years later the Central lending and reference libraries were moved back into part of the Gulson Library which had survived the blitz and had been renovated.

A new Central Library opened in Bayley Lane in 1967 complete with a new-fangled Gramophone Library! This remained the Central Library until the library moved to its present location at the former Locarno/Tiffany’s building in 1986.

Rayanne, Acting Librarian
Coventry History Centre

Object of the Month – February 2012

Coventry Blitz – General View, 1940,  By Ernest Boye Uden (1911 to 1986)

Coventry Blitz – General View by Ernest Boye Uden (1911 to 1986)

Coventry Blitz – General View
1940
By Ernest Boye Uden (1911 to 1986)

This watercolour painting of Coventry in the Blitz is one of the Herbert’s newest acquisitions. It found its way to us in fairly unusual circumstances. The artist’s daughter got in touch with us from Canada where she now lives, to tell us that this painting was being offered for sale on a website run by an organisation called the Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum. She was really keen for the Herbert to purchase the work, as she felt strongly that it represents an important event in the city’s history and should be in a museum in Coventry where it could be seen and appreciated by Coventry people.

After a number of communications with the Anglo-Boer War Museum, we reached an agreement with them to buy the painting. Fortunately the sale price was not too high and we were able to use some of the funding we currently have from the Heritage Lottery Fund to purchase works of art on the themes of conflict, peace and reconciliation. This was an ideal use of this funding, as the Herbert’s focus on these themes stems from the experience of Coventry in the Blitz of 1940.

When we first heard about the painting, we didn’t know very much about the artist, but luckily his daughter was able to supply us with some biographical information. We also discovered that the Imperial War Museum has several works by him in their collection.

Ernest Boye Uden (known as Boye Uden to distinguish him from his father Ernest Uden, who was also an artist) was born in 1911 in Peckham in London. He studied at Camberwell School of Art and Goldsmiths College and by 1936 had exhibited work at the Royal Academy. When the Second World War broke out, he joined the Auxiliary Fire Service in London, and was on duty during the air raids on the East End and Docks. He was part of the contingent wetting down St Paul’s Cathedral when it was surrounded by fire.

In 1940 he became an official war artist, attached to the National Fire Service. When Coventry was bombed on the night of 14 November 1940, Uden’s division was sent to the city to support the local fire services. This painting records his view of the three spires as they entered the city. After the war Uden established himself as a successful artist, illustrator and watercolour painter. He was commissioned to produce work for a number of well-known companies, including British Gas, Daimler, Bass, Dunlop, Ferguson Tractors, ICI and the Radio Times. He died in Sudbury in Suffolk in 1986.

The painting has required some work by our conservation team to make it ready for display, including making a new mount for it and framing it. It will be on show for the first time as part of the Warwickshire Watercolours exhibition, at the Herbert between 25 February and 22 July.

%d bloggers like this: