Friday, 31 December 2010

Mark Tobey
Dartington, 1931-1938

Pen and wash drawings.
Images courtesy of William Elmhirst
Mark Tobey
Dartington 1931-1938

Bahai Scene, gouache,
Collection of the Dartington Hall Trust
Photo by Kate Mount.

An American abstract expressionist painter, Tobey came to Dartington in 1931 where he was resident artist of the school. In addition to teaching, he painted frescoes for the school and became a close friend of Bernard Leach. In the 1930s he achieved notoriety with his “white writing” paintings, consisting of a web of calligraphic marks painted in white on a gray or coloured ground which soon displaced his representational work.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Ben Piper

We have commissioned Ben Piper to come up with a pyrotechnic display for the reunion weekend and have discussed a fiery joust in the Hall Gardens. It promises to be extraordinary, unique and spectacular, all terms Ben has got used to hearing. Being the modest man he is, he is asking for the trifling sum of £500 to pull it off. I hear you rushing to support him as I type.... http://www/

Monday, 20 December 2010

Power of Place needs your support. There are over 150 artists involved and the show is going to be held in a run down building with almost no electricity. Some of the largest costs are insurance, a catalogue and generating electricity so we need your help. The fund raising campaign set up on Wefund is based on an American model of a lot people giving a little. The only drawback is that the money won't reach us unless we hit our wefund target. Any pledges are gratefully received for what will be a unique exhibition.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Friday, 10 December 2010

An Old Friend
By Diana Gittens

When we first met I was only fourteen.
You'd been here far longer than me.
I'd lost my roots, but yours were overflowing.

You welcomed me with silent tolerance
put me at ease in vivid greens and shades
of chestnut, alder, oak and beech.

I rested by your beds
of lavender, sage and thyme,
climbed stone steps between magnolia branches

to the granite woman of the moor, looking out
towards rounded hills, thrown
by some ancient potter's hands.

Twelve apostle yews guarded me
near the necking swans in trickling water
where scarlet acers recalled my childhood Fall.

Your echoing wheel of stone spoke
with my voice I could hear but could not find.
I sat there munching biscuits with my friend

breathing blossom scents, watching butterflies
dance the colours, as if Mozart
had been playing (he often was).

I still come to see you when I'm lost
and though we've spread in many ways,
together under sky we reconnect.

Copyright belongs to Diana Gittins

Monday, 6 December 2010

Ernie Oliver
Dartington, 1963 - 1985

Luggers, Oil on canvas

Shoal, Oil on canvas

Ernie taught at Foxhole from 1963 - 1985 and these paintings give an indication of how versatile he is as an artist.

Gahan Oliver
Dartington, 70s

Crab, Oil on canvas

Gahan came to the rescue many times working part time at Aller Park when needed.

Monday, 29 November 2010

David Winkley
Dartington, 1963

'I have a deep tap root of affection for Dartington, I was very happy there and it changed the course of my life for one of great privilege and satisfaction'.

David Winkley came to Dartington in 1963 to teach drawing and art history, but after watching Bernard Forrester throw a pot he decided to become a potter. He went on to establish the Vellow Pottery near Taunton, Somerset.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Aller Park
Exhibition venue

A surprising photograph of Aller Park taken in the thirties, not long after it was built.

Image courtesy of the Bosence family

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Mark Sontag
Drawings of Staff

Whitmore the Physics Teacher
Ronald Anderson the piano Teacher
Minns the Biology Teacher

John 'Pop' Wales the History Teacher

A set of witty drawings reminiscent of Mark Boxer's cartoons by Mark Sontag.
I found them in a hoard of Sue Bosence's photographs from the late 30s early 40s, shown to me by her daughter Mary Sarre. Sue taught at Dartington for many years.

Alice Leach
The Dartington Printmakers

'We dined on zebra and leaves'
Collagraph by Alice Leach

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Rachel May (Nee Forrester)

A pot by Bernard Forrester's daughter Rachel.

Image courtesy of Nicholas Beeching-Johnson

Susie Gillespie

Fine Art Weaver

Birdwood House,

Totnes, Devon

On Now until 27th November

Susie uses handspun yarn made from all sorts of interesting things,

in particular a yarn made of nettle from Nepal.

This work needs to be seen in the flesh to fully appreciate the unusual textures and earthy tones.


reads his poetry
including from his new collection
"Where Earwigs Dare"

Saturday 11th December
St Mary's Church
10.30 for 11am performance

Tickets £5 on the door

Friday, 19 November 2010

The Early Years

Bernard Forrester
Dartington, 1932 - 1963
'For me, pottery is calling on memories of experience and then being able to reach into the kiln and hold and see the result of this matching.'

Bernard Forrester first came to Dartington to help build Bernard Leach's kiln in 1932. When Leach departed, Forrester stayed behind at the request of the then headmaster W. B. Curry, and began to teach pottery at Foxhole and, from 1947, at the Adult Eductaion Centre. Apart from Marianne de Trey, he has been the potter most intimately connected with the crafts community there, working at Dartington for nearly fifty years.

Images courtesy of Nic Johnson

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Early Years

Willi Soukop
Dartington, 1934-40
"My life was never planned, it just happened,"

Swan Fountain, 1950, Dartington Hall Gardens

The Donkey, Dartington Hall Gardens

Soukop's Studio, Dartington Hall Gardens

"My work is rather catholic,and ranges over a wide variety of subject-matter as well as materials - my art education was traditional but my chief influence was the German sculptor Ernst Barlach (1870-1938) and travelling and meeting the other artists who widened my horizons, in particular through teaching in England."

Viennese sculptor Willi Soukop came to Dartington in 1934. Dartington was a virtual international centre for the arts and this had a tremendous effect on Soukop, and its influence on him lasted decades, with the friendships formed enduring to his death. He wasn't the only European exile to come to Dartington, the entire Jooss Ballet from Germany,Michael Chekhov and his drama school and Hein Heckroth, who went on to win an Oscar for his set designs for 'The Red Shoes' were all there.

Other influences on Soukop came from friendships with the artists Cecil Collins and the potters Bernard and David Leach.

For Soukop, Dartington became an idyllic haven where he was not only free to carve but was also offered a teaching post, at Dartington Hall School. With war approaching, he had no wish to return to Vienna, but in 1940 he, like many others, was classified as an "alien" and first interned at Aintree racecourse, then shipped off to Canada for nine months until he was released to return to Dartington. He went on to set up sculpture departments at Blundell's School, Bryanston School, in Dorset, and then the Downs School in Worcestershire.

In 1945 Soukop came to London and taught at Bromley, Guildford and Chelsea Schools of Art - where he remained until 1972. In 1969 he accepted the additional position of Master of Sculpture at the Royal Academy Schools and became a member of the faculty for the British School in Rome.

Bernard Leach Exhibition

Leach Pottery, St Ives

Current Exhibition

July 10th to end of year


Between 1925 and 1946 the Leach Pottery in St Ives was deeply intertwined, philosophically and financially, with the Dartington Hall community in South Devon. This exhibition looks at the role played by the Elmhirsts of Dartington in the early development of the Leach Pottery and introduces a part of their fine collection of pottery, gathered under the guidance of Bernard Leach and currently held at High Cross House on the Dartington Estate in Totnes, Devon.