Treasures from the Attic

Jean Emmott with a blue & gold satsuma vase

Friends group members, volunteers and gallery staff have been busy over the past few months, (Covid restrictions allowing), uncovering treasures from within the darkest recesses of the Haworth Art Gallery store rooms and archives.

Harry Emmett taking a shot of a Japanese Vase with a Doulton Vase in the foreground

 

Last week’s finds included some beautiful ornamental vases, some gilded in gold or glazed in vibrant colours, some depicting fearsome characters, were brought down from safe storage in the attic along with  incense burners and other exquisitely crafted pieces.

Alison Iddon with a white and gold Dresden Plate

 

Friends group members Jean and Harry Emmett in particular have recently played a part in supporting staff in finding, identifying and recording artefacts that make up part of the bequest left to the people of Accrington by sister and brother, Anne and William Haworth.  Jean and Harry were among a number of the Friends group who have received object handling training by Deputy Manager and Curator, Alison Iddon, enabling them to safely unpack and record details of the objects, as well as take a few photographic shots.

Part of the work being undertaken as regards these buried treasures is to decide which of these pieces we can display in the upcoming centenary exhibition due to start in July later this year.  There are so many beautiful artefacts that the gallery simply does not have the space to display all of them all of the time, along with it’s collection of Tiffany Glass and popular temporary exhibitions.

 

Some of the more unusual objects include an ivory figurine of a snake charmer and an ivory calling card holder.  Obviously these days we are more enlightened as regards ivory, but it was often used for decorative purposes in previous centuries. Thankfully, the trade in ivory is now banned worldwide and only items dated before 1947 can be displayed and traded.  The items pictured here were acquired by the Haworths sometime in the late 1890s – early 1900s and we show them here as pieces of historical interest and an insight into the culture of our past.

Snake Charmer ivory figurine
Intricately carved ivory Calling Card Holder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Friends look forward to greeting visitors old and new to the exhibition in July, if lifting of restrictions go ahead as planned.  Let’s keep everything crossed!

 

 

Elves have left the building!!

Elf Liz and visitors to see Santa

What is normally an indoor event was held outdoors for the first time at the Haworth Art Gallery yesterday.

A ‘doorway grotto’ had been created for a socially distanced Santa and his Elves to welcome everyone who came to visit.  Children were able to talk to Santa  and take a present from the ‘Nice’ box if they said they’d been good.  Amazingly, all the children had been good this year, (what are the odds?) which is just as well, as the ‘Naughty’ box was empty!

There was a great turnout for the event with a grand total of 254 in attendance.  Thank you to everyone who came along braving the cold and creating a cheerful atmosphere, even in the long queue.

A big pat on the back to all the Gallery staff and Friends group members who organised and hosted the event and a special mention to Elf Liz, who spent the whole time outside entertaining children and their families while they were waiting their turn to see Santa.

On behalf of the Haworth Art Gallery, we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, even if it is a bit scaled down this year. Stay safe folks and all the best for the New Year.

 

Snowy Scenes!

Snowy scenes in the Haworth Art Gallery grounds this week.  I happened to walk past when Curator and Deputy Manager, Alison Iddon, was taking a few snaps on her phone from one of the upstairs windows.

Although the gallery is currently closed to the public due to Tier 3 restrictions, the shop is open Wednesday – Friday 12 – 4pm selling lots of beautiful gifts and cards.  The shop can be accessed via the main front door in the photo.  There is also a ‘phone and collect’ service, Tel. 01254 233782 mid-week.

 

The Haworth Park has remained open throughout the Covid pandemic and looks lovely whatever the season!  The picture below and the cover photo are courtesy of Harry Emmett.

Gallery and Kitchen temporarily closed during current lock-down

We are sad to announce that the Haworth Art Gallery and the Gallery Kitchen are temporarily closed during the current lockdown.  We await to hear further government guidance on re-opening.

However, the parkland surrounding the buildings remain open to the public and are are looking lovely in their autumnal colours.

 

Spring has Sprung in Haworth Park

By Jean Emmett – A Walk in the Park

Walking through Haworth Park at the moment is delightful. The birds are singing their hearts out and they are very audible as there is little traffic noise and very few people in the park. I even saw a nuthatch in one of the trees. They are usually secretive and difficult to spot.  The trees are coming into leaf and there are spring flowers about. It’s good to take a moment to look and watch. Butterflies are fluttering around and even the squirrels are being more adventurous.

This week the gardeners have been busy taking out straggly bushes. I asked if they were planting more or maybe wild flowers, but the powers that be have decided to grass over where the bushes were. I suppose it’s easier for maintenance, but not as good for the soul!

It was interesting seeing the gardeners with a JCB trying to pull out the stumps. The driver couldn’t see where the stumps were for the bucket on the front of the digger. He was being instructed by another gardener – back a bit, forward a bit, down a bit, close the bucket, PULL. The stumps did come out eventually, but each took a while.

The gallery of course is closed, but it’s presence is felt as you walk round. Really can’t wait for it to open again. It is greatly missed.

I hope all the staff are staying well. Look forward to seeing them all again when this covid crisis is over.

Jean Emmett

Haworth centenary: what’s in store?

The Haworth’s centenary as Accrington’s art gallery – the jewel in the town – is just around the corner. The fascinating photograph above was taken in 1921, the year the building was opened to the public. What a decorous entourage assembled for the occasion!

“This can’t last. This misery can’t last.” Laura Jesson, Brief Encounter.

As the Haworth staff and Friends volunteers prepare to mark the 100th anniversary (watch this space!), we’ve been hard at work documenting the gallery’s two major artwork stores, uncovering and preserving important artefacts in the permanent collection, many of which will help shape the event.

Our featured photograph was among the hundreds of items in the building’s watercolour store, work on which has been ongoing for the past year, documenting and assessing the condition of each item.

Among the many lovely discoveries were several sheet music albums belonging to William and Anne Haworth. At least one album, bearing William’s monogram and the date 1902, pre-dates the era when the Haworths lived in the house, then known as Hollins Hill.  Friends’ member Frances Prince, leader of the Red Rose Singers, is cataloguing this music, with plans for the group to perform some of it in the 2021 anniversary celebrations. The centenary exhibition will chart the story of the house and celebrate the people who lived and worked here from 1909 to 1920.

Mayoral insignia from the inception of Accrington Corporation, showing the lovely Town and Market Halls.

In addition to all the fantastic photographs and artwork, the store holds a variety of paper-based works, including cartoons, architectural drawings and copies of the documents and correspondence relating to the building of the house,

Among them was this illuminated manuscript (left), recording the bestowal of the mayoral insignia at the first meeting of the newly formed Accrington Corporation in 1878.

Also in this store is the original photograph album of the house from 1921, after Anne died and bequeathed the house to the Corporation. It shows the rooms and furnishings as they were when the house was her home. A copy of the album, sponsored by the Friends, is available at the Haworth reception desk for all visitors to see. Make sure to have a look on your next visit.

A romantic pen and ink sketch (above right) from the watercolour store suggests a Brief Encounter moment; a bittersweet image of an Edwardian-era couple, parting ways as his train prepares to leave. Also in this collection is a photographic portrait of Joseph Briggs (below right), who donated the vast majority of the Haworth’s Tiffany collection to his hometown.

Joseph Briggs, the local lad who became MD of Tiffany Studios and gifted his town the largest Tiffany collection outside the US.

In the early days of 2020, gallery staff, aided by eight volunteers, emptied the gallery’s oil store. Tasked with documenting and assessing the gallery’s more physically substantial works and re-hanging them in a more accessible order – we recorded each painting’s position in the store for ease of management.

Next on our list is documenting the Haworth’s extensive collection of art books, detailing works from Goya to Rembrandt and beyond.

Many of the works in these two stores will inform and illustrate the forthcoming anniversary exhibition, which will be a significant feature of the Haworth’s programme of events next year.

Looking ahead to 2021 has become a luminous objective. We very much hope to see you all there.

*If you’d like to help us realise any of our projects, or perhaps have information about any aspect of the gallery or its heritage – no matter how small – please don’t hesitate to contact us at haworthaccrington@gmail.com.

Stitching for sisterhood at Aawaz Accrington this International Women’s Day

A warm welcome and creative crafting were the order of the day at Aawaz, Accrington this week. Friends’ member and Haworth crafting queen Bee Daly led a lovely ‘Slow Stitching’ project as part of International Women’s Day celebrations.

Each designing to her own theme, members had a chance to try out creative embroidery and decorative sewing under Bee’s expert tutelage. Swathes of fabrics, buttons, beads and coloured thread were kindly provided by Bee and the Haworth.

The stiching project continued over three days and these are just a few of the lovely works created by women who participated.

The Friends are funding materials to create a decorative wall hanging, combining all the panels.

A well-established, Hyndburn-based charity. Aawaz, which means ‘voice’ in Urdu, aims to improve the lives of south Asian women and their families, and to help create harmonious, equal and cohesive communities.

Aawaz Centre Manager  Zulekha Dala said the project had been very popular with members and that they would like to continue to collaborate on future events.

In the near term, Haworth Art Gallery manager Yvonne Robins invited Aawaz members to a private tour of the Haworth  one morning in March.

Wonderful work, everyone!

*To get involved, become a Friend of Haworth Art Gallery, or just learn more about the Friends’ activities, contact us at haworthaccrington@gmail.com

 

Lancashire Lifesavers!

A group of Haworth volunteers, Friends and staff have received training in performing CPR and using a defibrillator, thanks to Lancashire Adult Learning which provided a free workshop delivered in house especially for us at the Haworth Art Gallery.

Following a joint venture with Friends, gallery and restaurant staff to raise money last year, we now have a 24 hour public access defibrillator in the gallery grounds.* A number of Haworth employees are already trained in CPR but new members, Friends and volunteers welcomed the opportunity to take part in a session delivered by a professional trainer and ex-nurse.

The session was well attended and the group learned about essential information regarding cardiac arrest and heart attacks. There was also the opportunity for hands-on practice with the resuscitation mannequins and defibrillator machines. Feedback for the session was very positive with all agreeing that it was pitched just at the right level and we came away feeling much more informed and confident about how to perform CPR and use a defibrillator on adults and children.

Defibrillators come with clear instructions and often have audio messages to assist the user. However, in the heat of the moment it may be quite daunting and therefore having previous experience and knowing what to expect when using a defibrillator might make a significant difference.

Lancashire Adult Learning offer FREE Lifesaver courses throughout the year at venues around Lancashire.

For more information or to book on a session please contact them on: 0333 003 1717

Or you can enrol online at www.lal.ac.uk

*The Haworth’s defibrillator can be found on the exterior side wall of the main gallery building, adjacent to the Hollins Lane entrance.

Wednesday World Cup Window! Baxenden Heritage and Social Evening

Football image courtesy of Freepik

It’s a footie-free Wednesday window this week and The Friends of the Haworth are diving into the area to host our first local heritage and social evening. Join us at the Baxenden Village Club, (formerly the Conservative Club) on Manchester Road this Wednesday, 4th July at 7pm for an evening of culture, conversation and a coffee or two.

It’s set to be an interesting, relaxed and sociable evening with two speakers from our group sharing their fascinating research into the lives of those who lived at Hollins Hill and of the history of Baxenden and the surrounding area.

The event is free for anyone who would like to attend and we’ll even throw in a cuppa (but not through the window)!  Hope to see you there.

And, oh, yeah: come on, England!

Friends attend Talbot Conference showcasing major photographic archive

Friends were offered a fascinating glimpse into 20th century Lancashire working life and culture at a February conference highlighting exhibits from a major photographic archive. The inaugural Talbot Conference showcased the extensive works of Blackburn-based photographers Wally Talbot and his son Howard, whose commercial photography was widely commissioned by regional and national news media from the 1930s to the 1990s, creating a vivid documentary of local life and social history of the period.

The archive ranges in subject from industrial life in the early part of the century and bucolic scenes of the Lancashire countryside to major news and events of the times, including visiting music stars and celebrities. It is the subject of a major digitisation project in collaboration with Blackburn`College. Peter Graham, a student in the Photographic Media Degree Programme at Blackburn and a key contributor to this project, is also undertaking a ‘live brief’ photography project at Haworth Art Gallery as part of his curriculum.  Stay posted for more about Peter’s work on the Friends’ blog.

The inaugural Talbot Conference covered a range of subjects including the social, political, historical and technical contexts of the archive and provided an excellent opportunity to view this eclectic mix of images, some of which have never previously been published. To see these images and read more about the Wally & Howard Talbot Collection, visit  www.cottontown.org

A meaningful insight into local history and culture and a very welcome introduction to this amazing archive which more than merits a visit. A big thank you to Peter for the invites to the conference for our group!

Alison