The Friends were delighted to present Haworth Curator Gillian Berry with the newly refurbished Hollins Hill photograph album, which has been restored so beautifully, and which the Friends have been very proud to sponsor. The album is in superb condition once again and will be a lasting photographic testament of the Haworth bequest for generations to come. Trustee Jean Emmett, who was a driving force behind the restoration, made the presentation on behalf of the Friends on May 16th, attended by several key members of the group.
Importantly, the restored album was not the only version the Friends presented to the gallery. Trustee Harry Emmett, who, with wife Jean was a driver for the restoration, has also created a replica of the album containing high resolution copies of all the photographs from the original. The copy will enable the visiting public to see these fantastic photographs at close quarters and to appreciate the detail of the house and its contents at the time of its bequest in 1920. It will also allow for the continued conservation of the original, which the Haworth staff will present for occasional display and discussion – so the conservation effect is two-fold.
Specialist bookbinder Formbys Ltd carried out the restoration work on the album’s leather exterior, which was stained and discoloured, and on individual pages, which were dog-eared and detaching from the spine. Formbys’ reputation is unparalleled in restorative bookbinding; their client roster reads like a Who’s Who of national heritage – and, fortunately for us, they’re based in the neighbouring town of Ramsbottom. . .
How lucky we are to have such amazing resources on our doorstep. Don’t delay – come and see for yourself the sumptuous images from this extraordinary artefact. As we say around here, it’s come up a treat!
It’s time for the great reveal! Fantastic photographs of Haworth Art Gallery, just as it was when it was home to William and Anne Haworth. These incredible images are collected in the newly restored album of Hollins Hill, as it was then known, in the splendour of the Edwardian era.
The century-old album has undergone significant restoration by expert bookbinders, Formbys Ltd, and is now safely back in its home at the gallery. It allows us a fascinating insight into the elegance of the Haworths’ Edwardian home as it was in their time, complete with the family’s furnishings and extensive collection of artworks.
The Friends of Haworth Art Gallery, which funded the restoration project, officially delivered the restored album to the Haworth staff on May 16th. Friends’ founding Trustee, Jean Emmett, presented the album to Curator Gillian Berry at an event attended by Friends and staff.
“This is a wonderfully skilled restoration, carried out with impeccable craftsmanship,” said Gillian. “The album is an amazing record of the period and a really significant piece of the Haworth’s history.”
The photographs illustrate in intricate detail the house as it was in its owners’ time. Each photograph shows an aspect or a room of the house exactly as it was in the early 1900s. The book has been painstakingly restored and the photographs preserved in the restored copy and in digitised form.
Commissioned by William for himself and his sister Anne, the house itself was built by Walter Brierley in 1909. It was destined not to be their home for very many years, however. William passed away in 1913 and Anne in 1920. Both died without direct heirs and they generously bequeathed the house and its contents to the Corporation of Accrington upon Anne’s death. In 1921 the house became the town’s principal museum and art gallery and was renamed in the Haworths’ honour.
As you browse through the photographs, you might recognise the entrance hall here, the music room there – or the room now housing the Gallery Kitchen – each with all its elegant furnishings and beautiful paintings in place. Although it’s almost a hundred years ago, we see their lovely home as though the Haworths had stepped away just for a moment.
The family’s art collection can clearly be seen in a number of the photographs. If you look closely, you might rcognize the works of Henry John Yeend King, Myles Birket Foster or Pierre Édouard Frère among the many paintings which were a part of the Haworths’ beautiful bequest and which still hang in the gallery today.
It’s a truly remarkable record, not only of the house as it was, but as a piece of Accrington’s social history; as local mill owners, the Haworths had a reputation for fairness among their employees and for benevolent works in the town.
The restored album can now be preserved for future generations and will be the subject of occasional presentations by gallery staff. Stay posted for events. Friends Trustee Harry Emmett has made a replica album containing high definition copies of all the photographs, which will be on display to the public at the Haworth.
“We’re delighted that the Friends have been able to sponsor this lovely restoration project,” commented Jean. “And we’re absolutely thrilled that visitors will be able to enjoy the photographs for themselves.”
Be sure to come and see the photographs on your next visit to lovely Haworth Art Gallery, the Haworths’ wonderful gift to the people of Accrington, and see how much of their bequest you can identify from these mesmerising images.
Creaky old leather-bound books with dusty, dilapidated covers are the stuff of mystery and magical adventure. Aged and cherished by unknown hands, their yellowed pages lead our imaginations into the secret worlds of a different time or place.
Such is the case of a lovely, but very battered, old photograph album that came to the attention of the Friends of Haworth Art Gallery. The album, which is a treasure of the Haworth, and was handed down from its original owners, beautifully illustrates the days when the house was an elegant private home.
William Haworth commissioned the house for himself and his sister Anne to live in as their home. It was to be built on former farmland at the southern edge of Accrington, overlooking a wooded clough and the hills beyond, yet easily accessible from the main thoroughfare through town, Manchester Road.
The Haworths, scions of a well-respected local mill-owning family, and active philanthropists in the town, had until then lived in an imposing, Victorian house, with large, colonnaded portico, in Burnley Road, Accrington.
William engaged architect Walter Brierley, dubbed the ‘Lutyens of the North’, for the design and construction of the new house, and Simeon Marshall for the surrounding grounds. It was the first decade of the new century and the house was to be a fine example of the Arts & Crafts style, a movement that celebrated a looser and more organic vernacular than the heavier, more ponderous architecture of the Victorian era.
William named his house Hollins Hill, after the farm to which the land had belonged. Completed in 1909, the house embodies all the elegance of Edwardian England, with its extensive use of simple motifs drawn from nature. If you’re lucky enough to have visited the Haworth, you’ll no doubt agree that their vision was beautifully conceived and executed.
This period style and elegance are captured in the many beautiful photographs preserved in the Hollins Hill album. It depicts all the principal rooms as they were when the house was still inhabited as a home, meticulously illustrating the uses and original furnishings of each. It brings to life beautifully the serenity of the lovely house with its gracious yet unpretentious design; its warm wood-panelling, its delicate plasterwork and its fine but unfussy furnishings. It shows an architecturally significant house that is also a lovingly created and comfortable home. The photographs are still a fresh and vivid portrayal of an elegant house and an excellent example of its genre.
Sadly, the entire photograph album has fallen into great disrepair: Its cover is stained and no longer holds its contents together safely; individual pages are fragile and tattered.
Which is where the Friends come into the picture . . . Happily, the group is in a position to sponsor the album’s repair by a team of specialist bookbinders. The entire book has now been sent to Formby’s, the most experienced company in its field (which also happens to be based in nearby Ramsbottom) to be lovingly brought back to its former splendour. Although, in its present bruised and battered state, the album holds great promise, with its many beautiful photographs and strong suggestions of its earlier integrity, we think the restoration process will indeed demonstrate a little bit of real-life magic.
We’re all agog for the outcome and will be delighted to share with members and readers the final results and those lovely images of a bygone era. Please stay posted for news of the album’s return.
Friends and family rocked around the clock at a fifties fun night Saturday to raise funds for a good cause. The Friends of Haworth Art Gallery joined forces with the Gallery Kitchen and Haworth staff to raise an impressive £800 towards a defibrillator for Haworth Art Gallery and grounds.
The fun kicked off with raspberry cocktails to complement the American diner delicacies, and guests geared up to an evening of fifties festivities with a charity auction and raffle. Generous gifts of paintings by Haworth Stable Block artists Heather Ashton, Catherine Lansdale and Steve Crowther, and a team shirt signed by Accrington Stanley players were just some of the brilliant buys on the block.
Guests got into the swing in some great 1950’s era gear to bring the rock ‘n’ roll vibe alive. DJ Michael Sixsmith and his partner Kyla Louise got the party started with their dance demos and some lightning lessons in jive and twist. The mood was buoyant as people found their stride and stepped up to the beat. Even the air guitar was period perfection!
Sales and donations were off the charts and the total raised was a real shot in the arm for the target amount. An enormous ‘Thank you!’ to Accrington Stanley for their superb support, to our generous artists and all our kind donors, bidders, guests and everyone who helped to make the evening such a huge success, not least the Haworth and Gallery Kitchen staff.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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 . . .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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!