Tag Archives: exhibition

Wiping the Three Brighdes etching plate

The Crowded Room in question is a hay barn at Shatwell Farm in Somerset, and is the latest unusual venture by Matchett & Page. Here is what they say about their inspiration for this exhibition:

“Matchett & Page’s first exhibition A Crowded Room responds to the new status of the crowd in the time of COVID-19. Nationwide and local lockdowns, social isolation and physical distancing have all contributed to the transformation of crowds into uneasy bodies. The desired coming together that these gatherings represent is tempered by the risk that too much too soon will force us back into isolation.

A Crowded Room brings together the work of four artists: Bronwen Bradshaw, Nell Brookfield, Sophie Willoughby and Maddalena Zadra. Scenes recalled from memory and intimately observed touch portraits sit alongside carnivalesque chimeras and bird-head masks. Together this odd company of real and imagined figures creates a surrogate crowd in the space of the gallery.”

The etchings which were chosen for this exhibition stem from a time in my life when theatre was a huge inspiration. All the etchings have a story behind them, which the viewer is invited to imagine; however, I’ll give a few clues here.

The Three Brighdes

The Three Brighdes may not be a theatre piece, but the manner of their making was. A group of women gathered in a small chapel in Glastonbury on St Bridget’s Day, February 1st, to make that year’s Brighde, or Bridget doll (it was the middle one, with a cork for a nose). This ritual was accompanied by wine – hence the cork – and much laughter, as well as serious intent to celebrate Imbolc, the Celtic first day of Spring, and thereby to honour the Irish Saint Bridget, whose chapel it was, and who spent many years at Glastonbury. I drew these three dolls as they later lolled together in Diana Griffith’s caravan at the Dove. This is an etching on copper, and incorporates lift ground, soft ground, open bite and aquatint.

The Wedding Party

This little etching, or drypoint, was scratched, sandpapered and scraped onto an acrylic sheet, inked up and printed through an etching press. The wedding party was one of many winding up a steep road to a monastery in the Caucasus mountains. The bride and groom were given a rapid blessing, and then the next party would arrive. Georgia has a strong religious tradition, but during the Soviet era weddings were only performed in civic ceremonies. This is how the Georgians got round this.


‘Remembered’ is just that: an image that came from memory. I don’t know who she is or was, but she was very definite, and I enjoyed making the print out of cardboard and various textures stuck together and printed as an etching plate. This technique is known as Collograph.


Tamburlaine the Great was played by Antony Sher at the Globe Theatre in Stratford on Avon some time in the ‘nineties. My daughter Robin and I had queued all night in bitter January weather to get two of the best 100 seats in the house for just £5 each. We were rewarded with middle of the front row seats, and the prowling figure of the tyrant at the front of the apron stage threatened to land in our laps. I dreamed of this image all the following night and quickly jotted it down in the morning. The resulting etching is on zinc, and is a combination of lift ground, aquatint and open bite. A year or two after completing this etching, I saw Antony Sher in a radically different character in an Alan Ayckbourn play at the Savoy, and afterwards went backstage to give him number one of the edition. He is an artist as well as an actor, and his thankyou card said he liked it very much. That pleased me, not because I was flattered (though I was), but because in it he had recognised something of the character he created.

The Messenger

Last, but not least, The Messenger. This was made from a rapid sketch of a lovely carved stone head in the Glastonbury Abbey Museum. It played a leading role in a solo exhibition I had at the Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury, based on a 6 month residency at the Abbey. It is a monoprint, which means each print, though similar, has differences, as it is redrawn each time I print it. This is a fast and often powerful technique that I will be teaching this weekend at a workshop organised by the curators of the exhibition, Kendra Matchett and Matt Page. My huge thanks to them for inviting me to exhibit, and for finding works of mine that I had long forgotten about, and which might well set me off in a new direction.

The exhibition continues this weekend 26/27 September, and the following weekend 3/4 October, or by appointment with the organisers. Please see their website for further details at



Lovely preview this evening – the show looked stunning and friends and supporters came and stayed – and actually looked at the work!  I was chatting to visitors and totally unprepared for an off the cuff vote of thanks that Diana Milstein delivered to me, impromptu, generously; and when she said, at the end of it – do you want to make a speech? in my embarrassment I said No, firmly, to general laughter. Afterwards I wished I’d said yes, but the moment was gone.

I should have said yes because I would have expressed the following: – yes, it’s true I started the Dove Book group 17 years ago, and that this current exhibition stems from that initiative and the 17 years of teaching and facilitating since then. But in another, more important way, this exhibition is the fruit of the persistence and ever increasing expertise of the 13 members of the Artists’ Book Club (Dove), and of our group activities that foster creativity, ideas, laughter, and wonderful lunches. That’s what it’s about for me – the group, and what we can achieve when we work together. So thank you to fellow ABCDers; to everyone who came tonight, and to Nina and her staff and volunteers who were brilliant. I hope you read this.PV4

And please note: the show is on for 6 days only: Saturday 29th, and then Tuesday 1st August – Saturday 5th August. 10 – 5 each day. Two members of the group will be present each day to answer questions about the books, and maybe demonstrate a thing or two.

Messums 16

Sculpture by Bridget McCrum outside the Tithe Barn

Material: Earth, A survey of Ceramics is on at the beautiful tithe barn in Tisbury where Messums have a gallery. Catch it while you can: it finishes next week (30th April). And next weekend there is a public event there: Clay Festival: Making and learning for the whole family.

Here are some of the works that caught my eye – among the many.

It’s a little hard to find as we spotted no sign posts: but if coming from Hendon direction, take an (unmarked) left as you enter Tisbury and can see what looks like the High Street sloping down ahead. A mile or so, and you are there. Really worth the trip if you love ceramics.

This gallery contains 14 photos.

Enchanted by the Betty Woodman ‘Theatre of the Domestic’ exhibition at the ICA yesterday. If you are looking for fresh, original, life-affirming work, this is for you. It’s the first solo institutional exhibition in the UK by one of the most important contemporary artists working with sculpture, painting and ceramics, and, at the age of …

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