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 email@example.com
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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 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!
Lyndhurst: a Gothic Revivalist mansion in the romantic style, built in the ghostly pale marble of its Hudson River surroundings in Tarrytown, New York. A shimmering example of Gilded Age glamour, this former home of three successive prominent New York families was latterly that of the infamous industrialist and financier, Jay Gould, whose children, nonetheless, had a social conscience. His daughter, Helen, was a noted philanthropist and, among her many acts of benevolence, used the house to help retrain women in service to sew. Her younger sister Anna (who would become Duchess of Talleyrand-Perigord) inherited the house on Helen’s death in 1938 and, despite mainly living in France, kept it fully staffed. On her own passing in 1961, she bequeathed it and its contents to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in which care it remains to the present day.
The sylvan waterfront setting is part of the landscape that inspired the Hudson River School, the group of mid-19th century American romantic artists, of which the young Louis Comfort Tiffany became a second generation exponent. Tiffany studied landscape painting under the tutelage of adherents George Inness and Samuel Colman and practiced a style of painting known as luminism, in which the rendering of light was paramount. Thanks to his affluent background, Tiffany was able to travel extensively throughout his teens and early twenties, and often portrayed scenes of social significance in these early paintings, illustrating a sensitivity to his own good fortune.
These youthful experiences were the jumping off point for an exhibition of Tiffany’s career that Lyndhurst mounted this summer. BecomingTiffany: From Hudson Valley Painter to Gilded Age Tastemaker,charted Tiffany’s trajectory from his early days as a young painter, to being a society decorator and wildly successful entrepreneur.
While Lyndhurst is home to many Tiffany artefacts of its own, this exhibition brought together some 50 examples of paintings and decorative works from public and private collections in the US and the UK, including two pieces from the Haworth’s own collection: its stunning iridescent mosaic of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and its rare Aquamarine vase (both shown here).
Tiffany’s painting style owed much to the Hudson School and the luminist approach; his mentor, Colman, would become a collaborator in Associated Artists, Tiffany’s first business venture, along with Lockwood de Forest and Candace Wheeler; all highly skilled proponents of their respective crafts, testing the boundaries of art and design.
Tiffany and his cohort became a new breed of society decorator, creating works of intense beauty and intricate craft in the new, fluidly organic style that would come to typify Art Nouveau. Members of the group designed, created and installed entire rooms, sometimes entire houses, from the furniture to the lamps and vases that adorned it; from the curtains to the window panes; they were the celebrity designers of their day. During this time, Tiffany’s artistic leanings were increasingly developing toward glassmaking and he experimented with techniques to create eye-catching effects, such as his trademark iridescence.
The era of the so-called robber barons had for Tiffany the fortunate corollary of generating a demand for works of glittering beauty at almost any price and as an astute businessman, he made clients of many of his wealthy neighbours in the Hudson Valley and Manhattan.
During this time, Tiffany also secured two career-defining commissions: to decorate the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut, and to redecorate several key rooms at the White House. His strengths as a decorator and as an entrepreneur were firmly established and he would soon set up Tiffany Glassmaking, later to become Tiffany Studios, peeling off from the rest of the group. Although the associates went their separate ways, they remained on good terms throughout their careers.
Questions remain as to how much Jay Gould and Tiffany in fact collaborated at Lyndhurst. The Tiffany and Gould families attended the same church in nearby Irvington and, although any direct working relationship between the two is not documented (Gould’s papers were destroyed on his own instruction and many of Tiffany’s were lost in the fire at his Long Island home, Laurelton Hall), there is some evidence to suggest that they may have worked together from an early point in Tiffany’s career.
While some of Lyndhurst’s many stained glass windows attributed to Tiffany remain in question – and indeed Jay Gould at one point installed windows attributed to Tiffany’s main rival John La Farge – nonetheless, numerous windows, many lamps and a slew of decorative items in the house are incontrovertibly Tiffany.
What is also certain, is that Helen Gould engaged Tiffany on numerous public and private commissions. Among her own personal commissions is a 10-foot stained glass panel of a doe drinking from a stream, a biblical allegory, and a smaller replica of which was displayed in the exhibit. Only now is Helen’s collaboration with Tiffany increasingly understood to have been his key connection to Lyndhurst and it is now thought to be she who should receive credit for many of the perspicacious choices that until very recently had been attributed to her father.
Lamps both owned and loaned punctuate the house throughout with spots of colour. A particularly splendid peony lamp on loan from a private collector and almost identical to one photographed with Helen Gould sat on display in the elegant dining room; a suitably Halloween-themed spider lamp graced a hall table. A sweet green banker’s lamp of the house’s own collection gleams cheerfully in a small bedroom, as do many others, casually dotted around. Standard lamps are poised at reading height alongside elaborately carved sofas. The interiors of the house are replete with Tiffany style.
It is Tiffany’s capture of light, often through a prism of saturated colour, filtered through or reflected in glass (and occasionally enamel), that would become characteristic of his lifetime’s work and which traveled through the myriad jewel-like artworks he created; from the luminism of the early paintings to the irridescence of his tiles and vases, the translucence of his lamps and windows.
The enduring joy of Tiffany’s works shines out at Lyndhurst, as it does at the Haworth; friendly and welcoming places both, rejoicing in the bequest of wealthy industrial (and female!) benefactors.
The Sulphur-crested Cockatoos will soon be winging their way back to their home territory (as will the Aquamarine vase), where they will form part of the Haworth’s redisplayed Tiffany exhibit, highlighting the significance of Tiffany foreman Joseph Briggs’ mosaic work and his critical role in Tiffany Studios’ success.Make sure not to miss these jewel box collections, whichever side of the pond you happen to be.
A fun, friendly and informative time was had by visitors to the Haworth at the Friends’ latest history and heritage event Sunday. Below Stairs and Beyond the Park served up a fresh look at the lives of the people who worked for the Haworth family and the world they inhabited at the turn of the last century in Hollins Hill, as it then was. Keen local historians and Friends founder members Jean Emmett and Roger Cunliffe engaged the audience in a fascinating social history of the Haworths’ era, and the industrial heritage of the local area – with a few props to boot!
Firstly, Jean uncovered the lives of staff who worked at Hollins Hill in its days as a private house. Key among these were coachman, William Beech, chauffeur, Joseph Taylor and valet, Abraham Naboth Imlah Whiston, who later became the gallery’s first curator. Jean also offered a glimpse into the life of Anne Haworth’s elegant companion, Ellen Priestley. Perhaps surprisingly, none of these family retainers was born in the immediate area: William hailed from Shropshire, Joseph from Manchester and Abraham from Cheshire, while Ellen was born in Russia. Jean helped to bring their personalities to life with colourful details of each one. An appeal to the many local people at the event elicited information about a previously unidentified gardener, which will help the Friends trace further details of his life.
Roger then shared his history of Baxenden, where the Haworth is located, detailing its numerous quirky name changes since first being recorded as Bastanedenecloch in the 1100’s and now often abbreviated, quite punchily (ahem), to Bash – so much simpler. Roger shared his fascinating insights into the various types of transport systems that have passed below the park on which Hollins Hill was built: from the construction of the road by Blind Jack o’ Knaresborough in the 1700s, to the old coaching routes established in the 1800’s (see earlier posts for more on these); from the steam trams which would have climbed the hill in the Haworths’ day, to the corporation buses that became the norm in the 1930s (more to come on these). Roger illustrated these changes with models of the trams in use from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s and a model of an old Accrington Corporation bus in its proud livery of navy and scarlet, the historic colours of the Accrington Pals.
The audience also heard about the old industrial buildings along the route of the former railway line from Accrington through Baxenden towards Manchester: the now demolished mills and the long-defunct Baxenden brickworks, in operation for just a few short years and outshone, of course, by its more famous neighbour. Such is Roger’s enthusiasm for his subject, however, he proudly professes to building a small collection of rare Bash bricks!
After the presentations, audience members browsed through the fascinating documents, books, photographs, maps and charts that illustrated their subjects. Thank you to our wonderful speakers and to our lovely visitors for both their participation and for their kind donations to the Friends’ funds. Our next public event will be the children’s Fun Palace project held at Accrington Library on October 6th. Stay posted for more details.
Better shape yourself if you want to get a seat at our next heritage event, Below Stairs and Beyond the Park. . .
If you’ve ever watched Mrs Patmore berating her young charge and wondered about real life below stairs in the early days of the 20th century, come along to our informal heritage event at Haworth Art Gallery this Sunday, September 23rd, at 2pm.
By popular demand, speakers from the Friends’ founding members will give us another peek into the lives of those who made Hollins Hill run like a well oiled machine for their employers, the Haworths. We’ll also be looking at the history and heritage of the local area and at the industry that helped shape the lives, both above and below stairs, of the occupants of Hollins Hill, as Haworth Art Gallery was then known.
So, come and take tea, if you please, ma’am, or simply make yourself comfortable, sir, and allow yourself to be transported to another era. While donations are appreciated, admission is free (which is more than can be said for Daisy), so please arrive early to be sure of a seat.