General Meeting Talk

In sight of the Downs - Sussex as a centre of Art in the twentieth century

by Rev Rupert Toovey

A talk from 21st January 2020

At the last general meeting Rupert Toovey gave a fascinating talk on the many artists who have lived and worked in Sussex in the last century showing us some examples of their work. He also referred to works of earlier unknown artists who have left behind paintings we are able to enjoy today, such as the beautiful frescos in St John the Baptist Church in Clayton.

Very well known artists have worked in Sussex - John Constable lived in Brighton in the 1820s, JMW Turner worked at Petworth House in the early 19th Century and William Blake lived in Felpham for 3 years between 1800 and 1803.

Moving to the 20th century Walter Sickert, Spencer Gore and Lucien Pissarro all had connections with and worked in Sussex. The Pallant Gallery in Chichester has an excellent collection of artists who lived in Sussex and recent exhibitions have shown Harold Gilman and Ivon Hitchins.

Then there is the Art and Craft museum in Ditchling which showcases the works of Eric Gill, Edward Johnston and Ethel Mairet and other craft workers of the early 20th century. Charles Brangwyn, another artist who worked in Ditchling, is well known for his paintings at Christs Hospital School. Of course we mustn’t forget Charleston and its famous inhabitants: Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.

Moving onto the Surrealists: Roland Penrose lived at Farley’s Farm in Chiddlingly with his famous photographer wife Lee Miller and built up a collection of contemporary art, many made by their friends and visitors including, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Max Ernst and Joan Miró.

There were really so many artists Rupert talked about that it was difficult to keep a note of them all (Salvador Dali, Paul Nash, Eric Ravilious, John Piper, Graham Sutherland) and I have to agree with Rupert that Sussex has attracted the finest artists of the 20th century.

Thank you Rupert for such an interesting talk. Rupert kindly donated his fee for the talk to the charity St Catherine’s Hospice in Crawley.

Anne Pascall


Thank you to all who attended the AGM on 24 September.
A brief resume of the meeting is as follows:

With the exception of one corrected misspelt name the minutes of last year’s meeting were approved. The proposal to have a single clause objective as required by the Third Age Trust was also accepted. Our objective is now as follows:

‘The advancement of education, and, in particular, the education of older people and those who are retired from full time work by all means, including associated activities conducive to learning and personal development’.

Kay, our Treasurer, gave us a very detailed explanation of the accounts and these were also approved, together with the appointment of an Independent Examiner for next year. Thank you Thelma for continuing to examine our accounts.

The following officers were appointed:

Chairman: David Spurr
Vice Chairman & SUN Representative: Tim Hossack
Hon Secretary: Anne Pascall
Hon Treasurer: Kay Webb
Membership Sec. & Data Controller: Jenny Faulkner
Events’ Co-Ordinator: Shiela Campbell
Speakers Secretary: Gary Cooper
Social Secretary: David Bowyer
Newsletter Co-ordinator: Helen Ward
Venue Hire Secretary & Groups Co-ordinator: Robin Jeffcoate
Minutes Secretary: Esme Cloherty

Many thanks to all members of the committee for their hard work.

Margaret Watson The highlight of the afternoon was the fantastic harp concert by Margaret Watson. Margaret arrived with a swirl of colour and large harp and gave a very varied programme ranging from pop songs (Can’t help falling in love by Elvis Presley), songs from musicals (The music of the night from Phantom of the Opera), traditional Irish and Welsh tunes and classical tunes (Rondoletto from Sonata no 6 by F Naderman).

My particular favourite was El Picaflor by John Marson, a lively representation of a humming bird. This piece really showed the skill and dexterity needed to play the harp. Margaret also entertained us by giving us a potted history of her musical career and told us a little about how the harp works. So thank you Margaret for a wonderful concert.

Anne Pascall



by David Williams

A talk from 16th July 2019

At our last general meeting on 16 July David Williams, a very knowledgeable City of London guide, spoke to us about the ancient, and not so ancient, livery companies of the City.

Livery companies date back 600-700 years and were the original trade associations evolving from London’s medieval guilds, ensuring industry standards and providing security for their members. Most livery companies, so called because of their form of dress, still have contact with their original trade and some still exercise powers of regulation.

David said that the livery companies’ traditions are as important today as they ever have been and play an important part in the life of the City. Many of the ceremonies that we still see in the City of London grew out of the traditions of the livery companies, for example, the Lord Mayor’s show, the London Bridge Anniversary Fayre and the Lord Mayor’s Banquet.

There are currently 110 livery companies. A strict order of precedence was determined in 1515, with the Worshipful Company of Mercers being number one and the top twelve being known as the Great Twelve. The Skinners and Merchant Taylors, ranked 6 and 7 at present, failed to agree on their precedence and alternate annually, supposedly giving rise to the expression ‘being at sixes and sevens’. The Worshipful Company of Carmen (number 77) was founded in 1746 (although it had earlier origins) and then no further livery companies were founded until the Master Mariners in 1926. The modern companies founded since then (numbers 78 – 110) such as Information Technologists, International Bankers and Tax Advisers reflect the modern age.

The Lord Mayor (of the City, not to be confused with the London Mayor) is elected by liverymen and he or she has an important ambassadorial role ensuring that the City retains its high profile both at home and abroad. His administerial base is the Guildhall and his official home for his year of office is the Mansion House.

Many of the companies are very wealthy and make significant charitable donations to schools and charitable purposes. In 2010 the companies gave away nearly £42 m, half for educational purposes; Christ’s Hospital School is supported by some of them. Not all of the livery companies have their own premises in the City but some of those that do have very splendid buildings and add greatly to the historical fabric of the City.

A most enjoyable and informative talk.

Thank you David.

Anne Pascall

Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.