U3A in the Lake District

May 13th, 2016Comments Off on U3A in the Lake District

Furniture by Arthur SimpsonEarly on a cloudless Spring morning members of the Arts and Crafts Movement Study Group set out for Kendal on a trip organised by Vanessa Enos to see furniture made by Arthur Simpson and to hear a talk about him by his biographer Hugh Wright.

We were doubly fortunate because staff at Abbot Hall Gallery allowed us to examine items in the reserve collections. We were taken to a private house whose owner has a large collection of fine pieces from the Simpson workshop and in the parish church we saw exquisite examples of the firm’s delicate ecclesiastical work.

It was particularly interesting to be able to compare Simpson’s work with that of Stanley Webb Davies of Windermere, an arts and crafts furniture maker of the next generation. Simpson’s reputation based on the excellence of his naturalistic wood carving is secure but his lack of formal training as a furniture maker is made obvious when his work is compared to that of Davies.

Some of us found time to see Rembrandt’s last Self Portrait, currently in Abbot Hall Gallery and on tour in the UK and Romney’s wonderful painting of the Gower children which captured the movement of dance as vividly as Matisse two hundred years earlier.

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