This guide was very knowledgeable, amusing and kept it interesting*. At this juncture, it was a good time to take lunch, again basking in the warm spring sun in the courtyard.
*Originally, advised no guide would be available.
We then returned to complete our interior tour of the house. The house was built c. 1598 by Sir Edward Phelips a wealthy lawyer and an influential member of Elizabeth I’s Parliament. As the Speaker of the House of Commons, he was involved in the trial of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plotters.
The house was built of the same golden Ham Stones as nearby Tintinhull House, it remained in the Phelips family until 1911 and became the property of the National Trust in 1931. The Tudor west front went under a major change in 1786, as at this time to get around the house, you had to go from room to room. A local property known as Clifton Maybank House was being demolished and Phelips purchased the material and it removed stone by stone and was transported across to Montacute. The main entrance was then changed from long East drive to the West, making a shorter drive coming direct from the village.
Montacute House has at 172ft the longest Gallery in the UK, which now contains a very interesting exhibition by the National Portrait Gallery. The house has one unique facility, which is a plumbed-in bath, installed in the 1920, housed in a cupboard! The house has a wealth of interesting artwork, mainly portraits of the associated family of the Phelips and their association with Royalty.
Around 4pm it was agreed that we all were beginning to feel a little weary both physically and mentally in a nice way, that we would make our way back home, but to go a scenic route through the delightful countryside. In fact, we all believed that we had touched on an interesting new territory. As usual, we had planned to have dinner somewhere on our homeward route. However, not knowing the region well, we opted to keep it fairly local to us all and dined at the Three Cups, Stockbridge. We had an excellent meal and returned to Mike and Pam’s for coffee, thank you both for your hospitality.
A great day had by all, enhanced by the marvellous weather!
Rosemary Crumplin-Clark - AHA Co-ordinator
Please note:- April 22nd visit is to Laycock Abbey, Church & more !!!!
Eight members self-drove to Salisbury and met at the Museum café for coffee. We assembled in front of the museum for 11am when Roger our Guide joined us, and we commenced with the history of the building from the 13th century until its occupation by the museum in 1981.
The Group broke for lunch at the café, which was excellent and very good value.
Earlier our guide also discussed a lot about the history of Salisbury and why the Cathedral was moved from Old Sarum to establish Salisbury as we now know it. It is believed to be the first living space within the UK that created a drainage system (where to this day many items are still being discovered when repairs are in progress). The museum has created a new area dedicated to Salisbury History and some of us took advantage of this and found it most interesting. Over the years they have held various street parades exhibiting numerous things including the Giant Man, which represented the Taylors Guild as this played a big part in the local industry.
Also, the museum was holding a temporary exhibition “Cutting It Fine” – which is The Art of the British Wood Engraver. This artwork is created by using tools traditionally made for metal engraving, resulting in unbelievable levels of precision and fine detail in the production of prints from wood engravings. This exhibition goes on until January and is well worth a visit. Unable to show an example of the final product as print is copyright.
We would like to extend our thanks and good wishes to Roger for a very informative and enthusiastic guide, which was much enjoyed by all.
Our visit ended around 4pm, with our heads buzzing with new knowledge.
The well attended August visit was to view the current exhibitions at the Southampton City Art Gallery, which included paintings loaned from the National Gallery. We had a curator for an hour-long tour highlighting the major exhibits, part of which was entitled ‘Building a National Collection’. He explained how they approached the task of spending the generous Chipperfield Bequest Fund with which they were endowed at the commencement of the collection. With guidance from various famous Directors of the National Gallery they have managed to acquire thousands of post WW2 paintings from artists at an early stage of their careers who later became famous (and prohibitively expensive).
The modern works, both figurative and abstract, have been complimented by old masters, British School and Impressionist paintings which cater for all tastes. Our tour ended with a short visit to the separate Portraits exhibition, where they were showing in 2 galleries a selection of their collection of mostly living artists’ work. We then broke for a short lunch at the café in the adjacent Sea City Museum, and subsequently returned to the Art Gallery to have a more ‘in depth’ look at the many works unavoidably missed during the curated tour. The very high standard of paintings viewed tended to support Southampton’s claim that they have the best collection in the south.
The Classical style of the main gallery building, allowing much more light to enter, further enhanced the overall experience, which proved to be probably the best paintings exhibition we have visited to date. Certainly, all of our Group who attended found the visit to be most enjoyable. Whilst we all have our favourite painting, mine was probably Southampton’s own Monet which out classed the adjacent National Gallery loan.
The Committee was extremely pleased with the success of our first organised outing last month, we confidently went ahead with our July excursion to this venue.
The group this month was smaller, but no surprise as everyone needed to catch up with family and friends following Covid lockdown.
This month’s organiser was John Alchin arranging Members to leave Andover at 9.30am arriving at the D-Day Museum for 10.45am, for coffee and a quick catchup before pursuing our tour. We began with clambering around the last surviving Landing Craft LCT 7074 from D-Day. The conditions on board were very cramped, cold, and wet; being a flat bottom craft the trip across the channel must have been very scary with many probably suffering from sea sickness.
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There were visual displays and a running commentary explaining the equipment used and the landing at Arromanches as part of the Normandy battle.
We then went into the newly refurbished Museum which was divided into two major displays. Beginning on our right was the historical collection of artifacts of medals, guns, uniforms, flags, and photographs and much more all explaining their uses and connections with the war. There were many personal moving stories leaving us with no doubt in our minds what so many sacrificed for the following generations. By this time, we all felt we deserved some lunch and took advantage of the on-site Café facilities enjoying our refreshments outside in the sun.
Now refreshed, we moved onto the left side of the purpose-built building to house an embroidery exhibition. This was commission by Lord Dulverton in 1968 and really is a wonderful piece of art, in-fact it was mind blowing, not at all what was anticipated. This was 83 metres long, made into panels of 2.4 x 0.9 metres. It took 5 years in its making with each panel depicting a story telling the events of the D-Day from the U.K. to the Normandy beaches; this was outstanding. It is one of those things when you say, “seeing is believing”.
We all then took the short walk through the gardens to 1500c restored Southsea Castle built by Henry VIII; this was fun and interesting. In the Keep there were small exhibitions, a restaurant and shop giving an in-sight to its history. We then climbed the ramparts and parapets to the top to enjoy the wonderful views across to the Isle of Wight and the coastline. By now we all deserved a sit-down for an ice-cream and tea. The weather was still wonderful with a nice breeze, so we took advantage of this and strolled along the esplanade to the Southsea Pier and enjoyed a fish and chip supper. Thanks to John for planning a great day out.
Our next visit will be to Southampton Gallery – Thursday 26th August ‘21.
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