Celebrating 140 Years of St John Ambulance

From left to right: Lady Fiona Barttelot, Caroline Lucas, Lady Emma Barnard, Katie Holmes, Peter Field, Maureen Chowen, Quenelda Avery, Trevor Moss and Liz Harper celebrating St John Ambulance in Sussex in the Great Hall at Parham

From left to right: Lady Fiona Barttelot, Caroline Lucas, Lady Emma Barnard, Katie Holmes, Peter Field, Maureen Chowen, Quenelda Avery, Trevor Moss and Liz Harper celebrating St John Ambulance in Sussex in the Great Hall at Parham140 years of the St John Ambulance tradition was celebrated at their 2017 Sussex Awards. These annual awards celebrate outstanding achievement and service by the volunteers and this year they were hosted by Lady Emma Barnard, The High Sheriff of West Sussex, at her Sussex home, Parham House.

The St John Ambulance Sussex volunteers were treated to time in Parham’s walled gardens before being welcomed by Lady Emma Barnard in Parham’s Elizabethan Great Hall for the awards.

At the heart of the organisation are the Order’s mottos ‘Pro fide’ and ‘Proutilitate hominium’ – ‘For the Faith and in the service of humanity’. As their Sussex Chaplain I offered prayers for the work of the St John Ambulance in Sussex and the Order of St John.

The presentations were led by The Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field, and Lady Fiona Barttelot, representing Mrs Susan Pyper the Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex. They were supported in their duties by the High Sheriffs of East and West Sussex, Maureen Chowen and Lady Emma Barnard. The Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex Cadet, Katie Holmes, was proud to be at the heart of the awards together with Sussex County President Caroline Lucas, Chairman, Quenelda Avery, District Manager, Trevor Moss and Regional Director, Liz Harper.

Lady Emma Barnard presenting a Commendation Award to Jean-Pierre Ball
Lady Emma Barnard presenting a Commendation Award to Jean-Pierre Ball

Jean-Pierre Ball was given a Chief Executive’s Commendation Award for exceptional service to our county and St John Ambulance by Lady Emma Barnard.

Amongst the many long service awards were three volunteers, Linda Hickman, Christine McIntyre and John Wright, from the Bognor Regis Unit, who earlier in the evening had delighted in their time in Lady Emma’s gardens.

Long service award winners Linda Hickman, Christine McIntyre and John Wright from the Bognor Regis Unit of St. John Ambulance, enjoying the gardens at Parham
Long service award winners Linda Hickman, Christine McIntyre and John Wright from the Bognor Regis Unit of St. John Ambulance, enjoying the gardens at Parham

The Awards were followed by a garden party in the marquee.

It is remarkable to reflect that St John Ambulance pre-dates the National Health Service by 70 years. A uniformed organisation, its volunteers can be readily identified by the eight-pointed Maltese Cross which they wear proudly.

140 years on St John Ambulance continues to be dedicated to the teaching and practice of medical first aid and the provision of ambulance services through volunteer units rooted in their local communities. There is much to celebrate in their work and they are deserving of our thanks. If you would like to learn first aid, join or support St John Ambulance in Sussex look up your local unit headquarters and pop along.

By Rupert Toovey, a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house in West Sussex, based on the A24 at Washington. Originally published in the West Sussex Gazette.

 

Growing Demand for Arts & Crafts and 20th Century Design

A rosewood and brown patinated metal armchair, circa 1965, designed by Jens Quistgaard
A rosewood and brown patinated metal armchair, circa 1965, designed by Jens Quistgaard

For many years now the conversation around antiques has centred on the fall in value of ‘brown’ furniture and there is no doubt that traditional British antique furniture represents exceptional value. But this story has overshadowed the many areas of collecting which have continued to attract the attention of growing numbers of collectors and where prices are rising. Amongst these are the fields of Arts & Crafts and 20th Century Design. They cover not only furniture and fine art but also silver, metalwork, ceramics, glass, clocks and objets.

Collectors delight in being connected with the craftsmen and women through the pieces that they made or designed. The quality, clean lines, architectural forms and colours of Arts & Crafts and designer furniture and works of art speaks to our contemporary tastes.

Take for example the three pieces illustrated which are already entered for Toovey’s specialist auction of Arts & Crafts, Studio Pottery and 20th Century Design on Friday 8th September 2017.

The rosewood and brown patinated metal armchair, upholstered in suede, was designed by Jens Quistgaard around 1965. It has an extraordinary pivoting backrest and was manufactured by Richard Nissen in Denmark. Its design is sculptural and amazingly comfortable.

A Liberty Tudric Arts & Crafts timepiece designed by Archibald Knox
A Liberty Tudric Arts & Crafts timepiece designed by Archibald Knox

The Liberty Tudric clock was designed by Archibald Knox. Amongst the leading exponents of the Arts and Crafts taste was Liberty & Co. Its founder, Arthur Lazenby, built the Liberty brand by employing some of the country’s leading designers though he insisted that they work anonymously. Amongst these designers was Archibald Knox who joined Liberty & Co in 1899. Knox was the creative force behind Liberty’s Celtic Cymric and Tudric designs worked in silver and pewter.

A late Victorian Arts & Crafts tea caddy by Keswick School of Industrial Art
A late Victorian Arts & Crafts tea caddy by Keswick School of Industrial Art

The Arts and Crafts silver casket dates from 1890 and is perhaps the earliest known example of silverwork by the Keswick School of Industrial Art and therefore one of the earliest examples of Arts and Crafts silver. It is intricately repoussé decorated with birds, urns and leaf scrolls. The Keswick School of Industrial Art was founded in 1884 to alleviate unemployment by the Revd. Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley and his wife Edith. It began as an evening class in woodwork and repoussé metalwork at the Crosthwaite Parish Rooms in Keswick, Cumbria. Within ten years the numbers of men attending the classes had reached more than one hundred and a new school was built.

These objects carry estimates ranging from the high hundreds into the low thousands reflecting the strength of these collectors’ markets. Further entries for the auction are still being accepted.

Toovey’s specialists William Rowsell and Glen Charman are always delighted to meet with fellow connoisseurs of Arts and Crafts and 20th Century Design and can be contacted by telephoning 01903 891955.

By Rupert Toovey, a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house in West Sussex, based on the A24 at Washington. Originally published in the West Sussex Gazette.

 

Parham’s Garden Weekend

Parham’s Head Gardener, Tom Brown, in the greenhouses at Parham
Parham’s Head Gardener, Tom Brown, in the greenhouses at Parham

Parham’s Garden Weekend is becoming Chelsea by the Sussex Downs thanks to its long gardening tradition and the growing national reputation of Head Gardener, Tom Brown. For me this quintessential celebration of our passion for gardening is one of the highlights of the Sussex summer calendar.

I come across Tom Brown preparing for the weekend in the greenhouse. The light, perspective and abundance of flowers in the greenhouse is reminiscent of Eric Ravilious’ famous watercolours of greenhouses painted in Sussex in the 1930s.

It’s a measure of Tom Brown’s growing stature that many of the country’s leading horticulturalists, gardeners and designers choose to congregate at Parham for the Garden Weekend year after year.

The new White Border against the ancient walls of Parham’s gardens
The new White Border against the ancient walls of Parham’s gardens

Amongst those coming to celebrate gardening at Parham is former Chelsea Physic Head Gardener and BBC Gardener’s World presenter, Nick Bailey, who will be holding a book signing event. Society garden designer, author and Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medallist, Jinny Blom, leading plants woman, Marina Christopher, and doyen of cut flowers and designer of one of BBC Radio 2’s 2017 Chelsea sensory gardens, Sarah Raven, all have Parham’s Garden Weekend on their calendars.

In between the talks and workshops Tom Brown, his garden team and volunteers, will be out in force to offer advice and to interpret the garden for visitors. It is rare for the public to have such unmediated, direct access to horticulturalists like Tom and his team.

This generous and outward facing spirit pervades all that Parham does which allows Tom to put a spot light on the best that Sussex has to offer. Many of our county’s most talented plants men and women, growers, specialist nurseries and local talent will be exhibiting at Parham, giving the discerning gardening public access to top quality plants and advice. It is this authenticity which makes Parham’s Garden Weekend so unique. This and Tom’s vision and integrity is attracting increasing attention from across the country.

The upward trajectory of Tom Brown and the gardens at Parham is set to continue. There is a sense of long-term patronage at Parham. Tom is quick to celebrate Lady Emma Barnard’s role in this. Her love of Parham and her patronage continues to bless this place with such life and creativity.

The restored Blue Border at Parham
The restored Blue Border at Parham

In recent years there has been significant investment in the borders with experimental trials in planting. The palette of plants is very important to the opulent, artistic borders at Parham. The restored Blue Border and the new White Border give expression to the natural informality of the ‘Parham Way’ and delight the senses. There is much in the old and the new to enchant the visitor.

I am looking forward to Parham House and Garden’s ‘Garden Weekend’ this coming Saturday and Sunday, 8th and 9th July 2017, 10.30am to 5.00pm. For more information go to www.parhaminsussex.co.uk or telephone 01903 742021. I look forward to seeing you there!

By Rupert Toovey, a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house in West Sussex, based on the A24 at Washington. Originally published in the West Sussex Gazette.

A Lifetime of Collecting Reflected in Automobilia

Toovey’s specialist Gordon Gardiner with an array of Automobilia from the forthcoming auction

Toovey’s are holding a specialist auction of Automobilia which will include pieces from the late Alistair Morris’ collection.

Alistair Morris grew up in Horsham. His career in the auction world began at King & Chasemore in 1978. The salerooms merged with Sotheby’s the following year and Alistair would eventually become managing director of Sotheby’s Sussex. An avid collector from his childhood, he built up the collectors’ department at Sotheby’s. His celebrated book Antiques from the Garden was published in 1996.

Specialist, enthusiast and collector, Alistair Morris

His great friend Gordon Gardiner comments “Alistair and myself wrote numerous Antique Collectors’ Club books together whilst working at Sotheby’s, it was great fun. After the success of our book on Toys I suggested we do one on Automobilia. I have always liked motor cars and all that goes with them. I had an interest from childhood when we had a family garage. I introduced Alistair to Automobilia at Beaulieu and he quickly became an enthusiast.”

The motor industry has always employed the best designers, engineers and manufacturing techniques and this is apparent in the function and aesthetic charm of these objects

I ask Gordon why Automobilia has such appeal to collectors. He responds “Automobilia connects the motor car enthusiast with the vehicles themselves. Very few of us have the space or the funds to acquire the cars but by comparison Automobilia can be collected on a much more modest budget.” I agree, these pieces of motoring history are great value and have long delighted my eye.

Gathered around Gordon in the Toovey’s offices you can see an array of Automobilia entered for auction from the collection of Alistair Morris and others. Many of the pieces are illustrated in their Automobilia book which has become a collectors’ item in its own right.

The large brass lamp is amongst the earliest pieces entered from Alistair’s collection. This fine acetylene headlamp is by Powell & Hanmer and dates from c. 1904-1914. Alistair once explained to me that these lamps were stirrup mounted to the car and detachable for ease of cleaning. The bull’s-eye condenser lens would have magnified the beam.

A Morris Motor Cars Distributor’s enamel sign from the collection of the late Alistair Morris

The Morris Distributor double sided enamel sign was a great favourite of Alistair’s because of the name. I remember his delight when he acquired it at Toovey’s. Like so many of the enamel motoring signs it dates from the 1920s and 1930s. It was made for Morris dealers to display in their showrooms.

I am looking forward to celebrating Alistair Morris’ life-long passion for collectors’ items at the sale. He worked tirelessly for our profession and I, like so many in the collectors’ world, was grateful for his encouragement, advice and friendship over many years.

Toovey’s specialist sale of Automobilia, including the Alistair Morris collection, will be auctioned on Friday 14th July 2017. With estimates ranging from £80 to £500 there is something to delight the motoring enthusiast whatever their budget. For more information go to www.tooveys.com or to reserve a catalogue telephone 01903 891955.

By Rupert Toovey, a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house in West Sussex, based on the A24 at Washington. Originally published in the West Sussex Gazette.