Another Season, Another Reason…

In like a lion and out like a lamb. So goes the old saw about the month of March. And even by the wild extremes of late winter, early spring, the weather this year has already turned seasonal expectations on their heads. Some days seem to bring all four seasons at once!

 

With the hottest February day on record, many of us basked in the welcome warmth. Signs of spring shyly made their way out early and delicate blossoms crept into bloom, but the summery temperatures were bookended by snow, which once again returned to this little corner of Lancashire, along with sleet, hail and blustery winds. Here in Haworth Park, the spring flowers have been clinging on for dear life. Fortunately for us, snowdrop, crocus and narcissus are as tough as they are beautiful.

And whether the weather be cold, or whether the weather be hot, there’s eternal sunshine in store in the park grounds and gallery. Snow, rain or shine, the Haworth shares its charms: a place to sit or stroll in the sunshine, a sledder’s delight in the snow, and if it’s raining out, the gallery’s ever-changing exhibition calendar will brighten dark skies. On grey days, the Tiffany collection brings perennial joy, its intense colours reflecting every season. 

Photography: Jean Emmett

After wildlife watching in the park or admiring all the goodies in the gallery, tasty treats are bound to tempt the palate in the Gallery Kitchen.

Whatever the weather, there’s something distinctly delightful or just plain different to do or see at the Haworth. So, make a beeline before spring is sprung . . . or autumn leaves!

 

Get your Grease on!

Fascinated by the fifties? Always find your feet tapping to a jumpin’ jive? Fancy learning a few steps to make those moves sing with the swing? If the answer to any of these is ‘yes’, make sure to grab your tickets NOW for the Friends’ Fifties Diner & Rock ‘n’ Roll night. A real throwback to the days of diners, drive-ins, juke boxes and soda fountains, our fifties night will make your heart beat to the sweet sounds of rock ‘n’ roll. You’ll be going ape on the floor before you can say: ‘Let’s go, Daddy-O!’

Kicking off with a cocktail, you’ll have an evening filled with fifties favourites and served up with a delicious two-course dinner from the Gallery Kitchen. If the dance steps are new to you, there’s a primer to get you started and fistfuls of floor-fillers to put your moves into practice. There’s even a dance-off for any Sandy or Danny wannabes! What a blast, baby!

Organised jointly by the Friends and Management of the Haworth and the Gallery Kitchen, this fabulous fun-fest is held in aid of the Haworth’s defibrillator fund, which will be a valuable resource for visitors to the park and gallery. Tickets are £25 a head; doors open at 7pm, Saturday, March 23rd.

So peel a wheel and punch it straight to the door for your trip to the floor – the bash in Bash’ll be peachy keen!

Kickstart for the Heart ❤️

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and the Friends are sharing a matter of the heart. With a twist. 

Along with some very kind collaborators, we’re raising funds for a worthwhile cause: a defibrillator for Haworth Art Gallery and Park. A valuable asset for the gallery and grounds, a defibrillator could be a lifesaving proposition in a moment of need, so please help us support this critical target.

Nigel Airey with his painting, Enchanted Forest, generously donated to the defibrillator fund

To give our funding a boost, we have a couple of initiatives to get you up out of your seats. First, a fabulous opportunity to buy a striking piece of art, generously donated by Rishton artist Nigel Airey. Enchanted Forest is a large abstract work in a style that echoes Jackson Pollock’s drip technique, executed in a vivid, evocative pallet. The purchase will take place by silent auction, in which would-be buyers submit undisclosed bids. The highest bid submitted by the deadline of March 6th wins the painting. The work is on view now at Haworth Art Gallery, so get along as soon as you can for a viewing and then, ladies and gentlemen, place your bids, please!

Beat those feet

A prize we can all win is a Saturday night of nosh and nostalgia at the 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll dinner-dance, March 23rd at Haworth Art Gallery. The Gallery and Kitchen management have put together a too-cool-for-school night of music and moves for anyone who fancies a bit of fifties-era fun!  

The bird’s the word, so just beat feet and get your classy chassis to the spot that’s hot! You don’t have to be a veteran of the vintage to swing along to these slick stylings. Lucky ticket buyers will snaffle a two-course dinner at the Gallery Kitchen and a hep-cat’s haven of ‘50s music & dance. The ‘50s specialist DJ will even give a dance demo of classic moves for your feet to follow and fill the floor.

Dust off your dirndls and full-circle skirts!

So dust off your dirndls and full-circle skirts, and creep back into those crepe soles – it’s bound to be a blast!

Tickets are £25 per person.. 7pm for 7.30 dinner. A raffle and auction on the night will raise further funds for the defibrillator. And if the ‘50s aren’t your thing, please spread the word to anyone you think would enjoy this fun-filled evening with a bit of a twist – or, rather – a jive . . . 

Let’s go, Daddy-O!

 

A Tiffany Epiphany

The Haworth in snow and sun; a warm welcome on a frosty day

A (literally) brilliant benefit of being a Friend of Haworth Art Gallery: days like today when we had the privilege of Curator Gillian Berry’s insights on the Gallery’s exquisite Tiffany glass collection – and an exclusive opportunity to handle several Tiffany pieces under the strict supervision of the Haworth’s Alison Iddon. All in the sparkling winter sun of a late January day liberally dusted by frost and snow.

Curator Gillian Berry highlights some of the Haworth’s Tiffany pieces, including a vase (centre) by Joseph Briggs

Gillian brought to life the story of Tiffany Studios, its personalities, and – crucially – the exquisite glass for which it became world-famous. Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of the famed jeweller Charles Tiffany, was the Studios’ founder, whose artistic vision, family wealth and marketing genius were at the core of the creative powerhouse the Studios would become. After many successful decades in business, Tiffany handed control of the Studios to Joseph Briggs, the Accrington-born engraver, who had worked his way to the top of the ladder through the roles of errand boy,  mosaic maker and studio foreman for Tiffany. Joseph would later bequeath to his hometown its world-renowned glass collection.

Elegant example of Millefiori glass encased in an opalescent Paperweight vase

Joseph was an accomplished mosaic craftsman, but only recently has his critical contribution to the artistic direction of the company become more fully appreciated – and the extent of his role in creating the myriad mosaics that were a major part of the Studios’ output; as foreman, he worked alongside other such formidable talents as designer Clara Driscoll (see earlier posts on Joseph and Clara). For this reason, the Haworth’s collection has been redisplayed to reflect his prominence and will continue to be adapted to respect the role he played.

Flower-form vase (convolvulus) illustrates opalescent, opaque and striated glass, with colour layered inside the delicate flower head and translucent stem.

 

A third generation engraver, Joseph was an apprentice at Steiner & Co in Accrington, where his father also worked, before leaving to seek his fortune in the States at the age of 17. Steiner, an immensely successful calico printing firm, proved to be a good training ground for Joseph; it was here that he honed his skills, engraving wooden printing blocks for the acres of Art Nouveau patterned fabrics the company sold to customers worldwide. In a wonderful piece of circularity, Joseph had initially trained at the Accrington Mechanics’ Institute, of which William Haworth (whose home, Hollins Hill, would later become Haworth Art Gallery) was a patron, and his father before him a founding member.

Agate glass, dated 1904, is said to emulate Art Deco, which supplanted Art Nouveau in public tastes, albeit much later

The dynamism of Briggs’ and Tiffany’s collaboration was astonishing and the company’s output immense. At its height, the Studios employed 540 people, many of whom were artists: designers, glass blowers, glass cutters and mosaic artists, as well as chemists. Notable among the latter, Tiffany employed Parker McIlhenny, who perfected the technique for iridescent glass that is a feature of much of Tiffany’s output. Arthur Nash, an English chemist, managed Tiffany Furnaces and was critical in helping Tiffany create the extraordinary array of colours and effects, for which the Studios became renowned, by the application of different oxides. Among their accomplishments was the ability to create degrees and styles of opalescence and translucency that could even mimic folding fabric.  Often used for windows and mosaic panels, pieces were cut from large sheets of glass, production of which Tiffany brought in-house under Nash. Many such sheets remain in the vast Neustadt Collection of Tiffany objects in Queens, New York.

Jewel-like example of blue Cameo glass with characteristic matte lustre

Design and experimentation in glass colours and finishes brought vibrancy to an astonishing range of vases, lamps, mosaics and windows. Iridescence became a trademark feature of various different forms of Tiffany vase, including Lava glass forms with their molten appearance (see examples pictured below). It was also sometimes used in combination with Millefiori technique, where rods of molten glass were fused to a glass form and layered over with a paper-thin sheath of transparent glass to ensure a smooth outer surface. Examples made in this way became known as Paperweight vases. Opalescent glass was also used with this technique, as seen in the elegant example above. A similar combination of techniques for decorating glass, by layering from the inside out, was used for other rare and complex pieces, such as the lifelike Aquamarine vase in the Haworth collection – one of only three known still to be in existence. 

Very rare Aquamarine vase

Slightly more restrained effects were created by carving opalescent glass into Cameo glass, which has a matte lustre (see the lovely blue example above). Cypriote and Byzantine styles both hark back to classical times, albeit in very different ways; Cypriote vases present a largely matte, pitted exterior, mimicking ancient amphora, while Byzantine ware is highly lustrous and formal in style. Opalescent glass also featured in many Tiffany mosaics and windows in opaque, semi-opaque and translucent forms. The breathtaking mosaic of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos pictured above – a key element of the Haworth’s collection that is often sought for loan by museums internationally –  illustrates many of the impressive range of effects and colours Tiffany managed to achieve. 

Lava glass vases (right) drip opulently in apparently molten gold, while a large example of a Cypriote vase (left) gleams more subtly; the classically shaped iridescent pieces are characteristic of Byzantine style

Great marketer and entrepreneur that he was, Tiffany adopted and trademarked the term ‘favrile’, a derivation of the old English word ‘fabrile’, meaning hand-wrought, to describe the hand-crafted nature of the company’s creations. Although an accomplished artist himself (Tiffany moved from painting to the medium of glass because of its ability to bounce light around) it is unlikely – ironically – that Louis Comfort Tiffany personally created any of the pieces for which his company became world-famous. Notwithstanding, he was the mastermind behind the company, and thanks to him – and critically to Joseph Briggs – we have this stunning collection on permanent display in sunny Accrington!

The Friends would like to thank the gallery staff for the unique opportunity of this lovely event. Next time you visit the Haworth, be sure to take time to appreciate the delicate beauty and amazing variety of this precious bequest.

If you’d like to join the Friends and take part in future activities, please contact us via haworthaccrington@gmail.com 

 

 

New Year, Artistic Cheer!

We wish you all a Happy New Year and a wonderfully artful year ahead! Here’s our calendar of exhibition highlights in a year bursting with creativity at Haworth Art Gallery. Don’t miss out on your favourites.

The Gallery reopens on Saturday, January 5th, while The Gallery Kitchen reopens on Thursday, January 3rd.

And, remember, you can still catch the spellbinding story of Accrington’s past, present and a glimpse of the future – Transforming Our Town –until February 3rd. An incredibly impressive array of words and images that captures the story and spirit of our town – the little town that could!

In addition to this calendar of scheduled exhibitions, the Haworth is home to a host of live music events (see below) and other amazing activities throughout the year, so please be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-the-minute developments.

Happy 2019, everyone!

 

 

 

Season’s Greetings!

We’re dreaming of a white Christmas: Haworth Art Gallery under a winter blanket of frost and snow.

The Friends of Haworth Art Gallery would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our readers, members, supporters and kind helpers for their valued contributions over the course of the past year. It’s been an excellent year for the group, raising funds and awareness for the benefit of the Gallery,  embarking on new endeavours and making strides in our continuing projects.

Probably our most significant project over the course of the year, our research into the lives of staff who worked at the house when it was the privately owned Hollins Hill (from 1909 to 1921), has proven to be an exciting endeavour that promises continuing rewards as we open up new avenues of association.

We have enlisted assistance from the relatives of former household  staff from near and far: from Accrington and Littleborough in the local area, for example, and further afield from Oxfordshire and Cornwall. Our crack researcher, Jean Emmett, continues to unlock the secrets of this beautiful house and its former occupants.

Spreading the word about this project has helped elicit more details of these families and we hope to extend this reach even further as the picture continues to build. Thank you to all who have helped explore this fascinating line of investigation. A very merry Christmas to all  and a happy and healthy 2019! 

A Real Christmas Cracker!

To your good Elf! Santa and his best helpers ring in the festive season 

Sunday afternoon at the Haworth was packed with seasonal delight when Father Christmas came to visit! Throngs of excited children got the chance to meet Santa, who talked to each one in turn and made notes of all the Christmas wishes of gifts and toys for girls and boys. Ably assisted by two of his trustiest helpers, Elves Roger and Liz, Santa handed out sweets and wrote the names of all the good girls and boys in his magical book, to make sure he doesn’t forget anyone on Christmas Eve!

It’s Elf Service! Trusty Elf, Roger, dishes out treats to each young visitor

As well as meeting Santa, children joined in making Christmas crafts with Gallery staff and volunteers, creating wonderful Christmas wreaths and beautiful baubles for the tree. A winter wonderland of fun was enjoyed by young and old alike – a hubbub of happy voices ringing throughout the Gallery. 

A sleighful of great prizes is raffled off to support the purchase of a defibrillator for the Haworth

The huge raffle attracted lots of interest from parents and children alike, with a range of fabulous prizes, generously donated by staff and community members. Of equal interest to all ages was a delicious chocolate stall, full of festive treats! 

A new and important fundraising project of the Friends of Haworth Art Gallery is to raise money to buy a defibrillator for the Gallery and grounds. In total, the Friends raised £370 over the course of the afternoon – a brilliant start to this fund! The Friends would like to extend an enormous and, dare we say, heartfelt “thank you” to the local community for their support in contributing to this critical acquisition.

Special thanks also go to Daniel and Chloe Fullalove, who organised and ran the chocolate stall, which accounted for more than £100 of the funds raised, so huge thanks and well done to them! The Fullaloves and a good number of our members should also congratulated for breaking out the most christmassy of jumpers – nicely done, folks!

We would like to wish all our supporters, visitors and readers all the very best for Christmas and the New Year and would like to thank the local community and all those who have provided help and support for our many projects over the course of 2018. Thank you!

Jean, purveyor of happiness!
Marilyn and Alison bring sartorial sparkle
Christmas Fullalove! The Fullalove family lend Christmas cheer and helping hands to the chocolate station

Calling all Cowlings!

Your Gallery needs YOU.

The Friends of Haworth Art Gallery are seeking descendants of the Cowling family in Lancashire and potentially beyond: did you have a father, grandfather or other relative – or perhaps knew someone – named Joseph Cowling, who lived in Baxenden, Accrington, in the 1910’s through to 1971?

The Friends are seeking information about Joseph as part of their research into the lives of staff who worked at Hollins Hill, as the gallery was known when it was a private house owned by the Haworth family from 1909 to 1921. Joseph was then an under gardener at Hollins Hill. Originally from Yorkshire, he came to Accrington and married local girl, Rachel Hindle, at St John’s Church Baxenden in 1914. They had three children: Thomas, born in 1915; Joseph born in 1921; and Mary, born in 1929.

A former domain of the Hollins Hill gardeners, the glasshouse was rebuilt with the conversion of the stable block and now houses the Art Garden

Leaving Hollins Hill on the death of his employer, Anne Haworth, Joseph set up a successful market garden on land just off Hill Street, Baxenden, eventually moving into number 2, Glen Cottages, adjacent to his business. In 1936, his brother Richard moved to number 5, Glen Cottages, and in 1938 also married a local girl, Maggie Jane Hunter.

Joseph died in 1974 in Rawtenstall, perhaps near to one of his children. Another of his children moved to Clitheroe and a great niece still lives in the Baxenden area, but we know little else about his family and appeal to your help in finding out more, or locating documentation.

The beautiful Rose Garden at the Haworth

Can you help fill in the gaps? If you are related to Joseph, have family documents, photographs (especially of Joseph and Rachel), or family stories, please contact us by email at haworthaccrington@gmail.com. Alternatively, please leave a message with the duty staff at Haworth Art Gallery during your next visit. We will be thrilled to receive any relevant information and add another branch to the tree of the Haworth’s heritage. Thank you.

Tiny Tiffany Triumphs at Friends’ Fun Palace Festivities!

Accrington Library was bursting with colour and creativity on October 6th, when the Friends joined with other groups in the local Fun Palace action. Fun Palaces give children of all ages the chance to join in free and fun cultural activities at selected venues around the country, supported by groups like the Friends.

Our team got cracking (not literally, thankfully!) with Tiffany glass-themed activities, where children had the chance to make brightly coloured lanterns of their own or to bring to life drawings of Tiffany objects with colour.

Great fun was had by all! Lots of laughs were had in between the deep concentration required to produce a lovely lamp, which children decorated with twinkling stars and emoji stickers *:) happy Everyone could take their lanterns home, where some were planning to illuminate them with electric tea lights. Brilliant!

The crafts proved so popular, we almost exhausted supplies (note to self: bring more next time)! Friends’ members Jean, Harry and Alison were joined by our kind volunteer, Jav, who was a much-needed extra pair of hands. 

Children and parents flocked straight to the table, eager to get started, and over the course of two hours we managed to help 40 children to create and colour their lamps and drawings.

An amazing afternoon for everyone involved. Thank you to the Library for hosting, to Jav for helping out, and to everyone who joined in . . . Tiffantastic!

Tiffany on Tour and a House Fit For a Duchess