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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Due to the Covid, it has been 20 months since we have been able to enjoy a visit to an AHA selected venue. Therefore, we have no reports for the May Newsletter, but what we do have is an update for you!
Wow, are we all ready to put on our sun hats and go out and play?
The AHA Committee met recently to discuss ideas to revive the AHA group and we are feeling optimistic to arrange future events. We will be taking it very slowly by keeping relatively close to Andover and staying to outside venues until the Country can be made free to move around without restrictions.
We plan to arrange a visit for Friday 25th June ’21, so please keep this date free, come on put it in your diary! Details of this visit will follow within the next week as we are just in the process of gathering the relevant information.
The AHA Committee are really looking forward to seeing existing Members, also to see some new Members of Anton U3A.
The following is very much of what you already know, and I am sure that many of you have been doing. We want to make our trips as close to what we have considered to be normal and to ensure that everyone is comfortable with arrangements. For those who are comfortable with car sharing can do so, but you and your passengers must wear a face mask whilst in the car. We are presuming due to our age group that everyone has had their two vaccinations, but if for any reason you have not, it may be wise for you to travel separately. Please contact me if anyone has any concerns. In addition, whilst you are within a enclosed environment you are also required to wear a face mask.
We will continue with our recommendation of cost towards car sharing as this is only fair to help with the fuel and any parking charges. As we have done in the past, we will show the recommended cost on the information sheet issued prior to the event and it is up to driver to recover any cost.
We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible and in the meantime please stay well and safe.
(Contact No: 07570 962 112)
AHA – Co-ordinator