On Saturday for our first meeting of 2016 we welcomed Hayden Luke who gave an illustrated talk on Fairlight Artists and writers. The landscape around Fairlight has been painted since 1790’s and probably earlier. Visitors initially came to the area to watch troop’s manoeuvres under Duke of Wellington, then for the health benefits and with the arrival of railways in 1850’s open to all. Turner painted a shipwreck at Hastings c1825, but it was the pre-Raphaelite painter William Holman Hunt who made the most of the area and painted Our English Coasts in c1852.
Through his pupil Robert Martineau, he was introduced to Edward Lear. Marianne North was also a friend of Lear, and no doubt she practised her drawing skills up at the fire hills, prior to her extensive travels. James McNeil Whistler painted his mother, who is buried in Hastings cemetery and Lucien Pissarro painted The Coastguard’s house, Ecclesbourne, in 1918. Reginald Eves was a famous portrait artist and through his success he was able to purchase land around Marsham farm where he stayed as a child and subsequently leave it all to the National Trust, thus preserving much of Fairlight. Arthur Spencer Roberts lived locally and painted the animal murals at Port Lympne. Writers associated with the area included G D Martineau, Grey Owl or Archibald Stansfeld Belaney, Coulson Kernahan, Sheila Kaye-Smith, Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson.
Alexander McQueen the fashion designer had a country retreat and his creation The Girl who lived in a Tree was inspired by his garden. The monthly competition was won by Diane Abbott. Our next meeting is on Feb 13th, which will be an oil pastel demonstration at St Johns Church Hall, Brittany Road. St Leonards on sea. New members are always welcome please contact Janet Lutkin 01424 855275. Website www.eastsussexartsclub.org.
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