Outside In Christmas Charity Event at Toovey’s

This year, Toovey’s have chosen Pallant House Gallery’s pioneering project Outside In as the nominated charity for its Christmas Private View and Charity Auction. During our Christmas Private View on Monday 1st December 2014, Toovey’s, in collaboration with Pallant House Gallery, will be holding a charity auction of promises with a selection of exclusive lots to bid on, including a week’s break on the beautiful classic motor sailing yacht ‘Barracuda’, moored in Palma on the lovely island of Majorca.

The night will also host a Christmas Tree of Delights with gifts available for £20, £50 and £100 for those who would like to donate. As a backdrop to the evening and also in support of Outside In, a selling exhibition of works by acclaimed Sussex-based artists from Moncrieff-Bray Gallery will be on show and this will continue to run through the auction week at Toovey’s until Friday 5th December. Works available to purchase will include an oil on linen, titled ‘Clouds over Jura from Islay’, by Oona Campbell and two fine art photographs by Deborah Gourlay.

Oona Campbell's 'Clouds over Jura from Islay' available for £4200 in the selling exhibition to raise funds for Outside In

A selection of twelve works by award-winning Outside In artists will be on display on the evening too. These twelve works will be offered in Toovey’s Fine Art Auction on Wednesday 3rd December 2014 at 10am to raise further funds for Outside In. Danielle Hodson, David Jones, Jasna Nikolic, Kate Bradbury, Kwei Eden, Manuel Bonifacio, Matthew Sergison-Main, Michelle Roberts, Nigel Kingsbury, Peter Andrews and Phil Baird are the list of names all contributing to this auction.

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Outside In LogoOutside In was founded in 2006 by Pallant House Gallery to provide opportunities for artists with a desire to create who see themselves as facing a barrier to the art world for reasons including health, disability or social circumstance. The goal of the project is to create a fairer art world, which rejects traditional values and institutional judgements about whose work can and should be displayed. For more information visit the Outside In website by clicking here.

About Outside In, Toovey’s director Rupert Toovey commented: “It is really exciting to see traditional values and institutional judgements challenged, for people to be empowered and gifted with expression, rather than exclusion. I am delighted to be supporting this important work.”

If you would like a catalogue for the exhibition and auction, with more information about the works and artists, please contact Toovey’s or Pallant House Gallery.

Art & Objects Transforming Lives at Pallant House Gallery

The Queen Anne town-house and the new wing of Pallant House Gallery in Chichester

I am always humbled and delighted by the ability of art to transform and enrich our lives. It is for this reason that a team of Toovey’s specialist valuers will be at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester on the afternoon of Monday 29th September 2014, to offer free pre-sale valuations and advice on selling your fine art, antiques and collectables by auction. A third of the seller’s commission for items subsequently auctioned by Toovey’s will be donated to Pallant House to help with the gallery’s important work.

Engaging with art can often reveal to us something of our world beyond our own perception. The process of creating art can enable us to understand something of ourselves, giving voice to where we have come from, where we are and where we would like to be. Pallant House Gallery provides opportunities for art to affect us in both these ways, through its world-class exhibitions, its Learning and Community Programme and its work with the ‘Outside In’ project.

Pallant House has been referred to as ‘a jewel’ and ‘one of the most important galleries for British modern art in the country’. It opened in its present incarnation to national critical acclaim in July 2006. The remarkable £8.6 million build project, which took nearly three years to complete, seamlessly married the original Queen Anne, Grade I listed town-house and the new wing, quadrupling its exhibition space.

Pallant House’s pioneering Learning and Community Programme gives people of all ages and abilities the chance to explore their enjoyment of art. Outside In was founded by the gallery in 2006 with the aim of establishing a platform for artists who have a desire to create but who see themselves as facing a barrier to the art world for reasons including health, disability and social circumstance. The goal of the project is to create an unprejudiced environment which rejects traditional values and institutional judgements about whose work can and should be displayed.

At the heart of Outside In is an avoidance of labelling and there are no set criteria for an artist’s inclusion. Marc Steene, Executive Director at Pallant House Gallery, has spearheaded the project, describing it as a ‘gentle revolution, designed to enable a fairer art world where all who create have an equal opportunity to sit at the table and have their work seen and valued’. In 2013, Outside In won a prestigious Charity Award in the Arts, Culture, and Heritage category.

It is the qualities of community and outreach which lend this fantastic organisation a vibrant quality and give soul to this important regional art gallery.

I will be at Pallant House with a group of fellow Toovey’s experts offering a range of specialisms, including fine paintings and sculpture, European and Oriental ceramics, jewellery and medals, clocks and watches, collectors’ toys, military items and antique firearms and edged weapons. No appointment is necessary; just turn up with your treasures and we will be pleased to provide free auction valuations and advice. If your items are difficult to transport, bring photographs, email images to Toovey’s beforehand or telephone to make an appointment for one of us to visit your home on another day. For more information, please contact Toovey’s.

I am really looking forward to being at Pallant House Gallery, 9 North Pallant, Chichester, PO19 1TJ, on Monday 29th September between 1pm and 5pm. Perhaps your art, antiques and collectables will transform not only your own life but the lives of others through this fundraising event!

By Revd. Rupert Toovey. Originally published on 24th September 2014 in the West Sussex Gazette.

Rolls-Royce & Bentley Day at Borde Hill Garden

Rolls Royce Bentley Borde Hill
A magnificent vintage Rolls-Royce and Bentley on the lawns of Borde Hill

Borde Hill Garden holds its Rolls-Royce and Bentley Day this coming Sunday, 20th July 2014. The gardens will be complimented by cars from these famous marques, vehicles which have often been called ‘the best cars in the world.’

Rolls-Royce 20hp Sedanca
Rupert Toovey’s great-grandfather’s Rolls-Royce 20 h.p. Sedanca

I grew up in a family passionate about motoring and cars, especially from the vintage era. Amongst the numerous stories was that of my great-grandfather’s Rolls-Royce 20 h.p. Sedanca. I have often wondered from this photograph of the car with his chauffeur whether it was bodied by the coachbuilders Hooper. In Rolls-Royce’s catalogue of 1905 the company wrote: “Doctors and others connected with the medical profession have, after trying the leading makes, declared the Rolls-Royce to be the only petrol car that they could bring up to a patient’s house and drive away without the possibility of disturbing the patient.” This may have been a tempting marketing quote for my great-grandfather, Edwin Hopewell-Ash, an eminent physician-neurologist and member of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Borde Hill
Andrewjohn and Eleni Stephenson Clarke at Borde Hill

Henry Royce was a gifted engineer of my great-grandfather’s generation. He had a particular gift for perfecting the design and manufacture in areas of emerging technology. Royce refined the multi-cylinder engine, addressing the noise, vibration and inflexibility of other marques’ earlier engines. The Rolls-Royce motor company has its origins in the 1904 partnership between Royce and the motoring and aviation pioneer Charles Stewart Rolls.

Andrewjohn Stephenson Clarke and his wife, Eleni, are the current custodians of Borde Hill. This weekend brings together the threads and passions of Andrewjohn’s life – the gardens and engineering. He is himself a leading civil and computer engineer.

With Rolls-Royce now located at Chichester in West Sussex, it seems particularly appropriate that this famous marque’s heritage should be celebrated in this way in our county. Borde Hill Garden has many rare and remarkable plants; it is an exceptional living collection.

This weekend there is a treat in store for motoring and garden enthusiasts alike at Borde Hill Garden, Borde Hill Lane, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 1XP. For more information on opening times and forthcoming events go to www.bordehill.co.uk or telephone 01444 450326.

By Revd. Rupert Toovey. Originally published on 16th July 2014 in the West Sussex Gazette.

Parham House and Gardens’ Annual Garden Weekend

Parham House and Garden
Gardener and patron, Peta Ashton and Lady Emma Barnard, in conversation in the Tudor herb garden at Parham House and Gardens

This week I am visiting the walled gardens in the lead up to one of the highlights of the Sussex summer calendar: Parham House and Gardens’ famous ‘Garden Weekend’. This year’s celebration of gardening at Parham will be opened on Saturday by the BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Joe Swift.

I love the stillness that gathers you in the walled gardens at Parham. It transports you, separating you from the business of life. To create a garden of this subtlety, depth and beauty requires a sensitivity to place, light, the elements and the seasons.

Tom Brown, Head Gardener at Parham, leads a team of gifted people, whose creativity allows this sublime garden to honour the past while remaining forward-looking. I am excited to be meeting Peta Ashton, a gardener and member of this team, whose individuality and talent is apparent in her work in the Parham gardens.

Lady Emma Barnard and I walk from her wonderful house to the gardens and she leaves me in the path between the long borders as she goes off to find Peta. If you have ever dared to still yourself and stand in a landscape, you will know that out of the silence your senses become heightened. You become more alive. Sounds, colours and movement reveal themselves to you. As I stand between these borders with the warmth of the sun upon my face, the wind and shadows cause the soft planting to dance. I become aware of the swathes of colour and their relationships to one another, which, together with the textures of flowers and foliage, form complex compositions. The gentle breeze plays upon the leaves. There is a rhythm and wholeness, born out of this rich canvas. Lady Emma appears with Peta, the sound of their voices and feet on the gravel paths marking their approach.

Borders at Parham House and Gardens
Peta Ashton’s sublime borders at Parham

The borders which have just captured my imagination and gathered me are the work and inspiration of Peta Ashton. I remark on my experience of this particular part of the garden. She listens thoughtfully. Her face breaks into a gentle smile beneath her broad-brimmed hat, evidently pleased by my unexpected response to her work. I ask her what has influenced the garden layout. She replies, “The gardens are laid out in the ‘Old Parham Way’ with secret and open spaces.” There is much talk today of garden rooms but it would seem that this is nothing new at Parham.

Together the three of us walk towards another of Peta’s creations, the restored herb garden, which is bordered by a tall yew hedge of dark green hue. Entering through an arch cut into the hedge, we find ourselves in a secret, sunny garden. A circular stone pond with a lead putto is framed by tall herbs. Excitedly Peta leads Emma and me around the herb garden, delighting in the names, the foliage and the characters of each individual plant. It is apparent that we are in the company of a generous and passionate plantswoman, who expresses her hopes and fears for each of them in turn.

In Tudor times, when Parham was built, herbs were used for their culinary, medicinal and strewing properties. Herbs would be strewn on the floors and surfaces of homes to deter insects and to disinfect, as well as for their fragrant qualities. In this enclosed garden, I am reminded that herbs were associated with the monastic tradition in medicine. It is these influences which are expressed in the disciplined, balanced planting. Peta explains that this would be defeated if it was too ornamental. There is a sense of working with nature and history.

The Gardens at Parham House
A view from the gardens looking towards the house and Sussex Downs

I ask Peta how she comes to imagine and create these remarkable borders and gardens. She pauses for a moment, considering her reply, and then says, “The borders come out of being in this space in silence. It is the combination of this inner criterion and influences from outside which I try to work with.” Being attentive to nature, colour, form and movement requires a particular quality of engagement and a generous discipline – a combination of relationship with our environment and an attempt to shut out the white noise of our lives and be truly present, undistracted in the given moment. It is a form of meditation, of prayer. Peta clearly understands this and it gifts her creativity and remarkable vision with depth and subtlety. She is both artist and gardener.

Calling and vocation can be expressed in infinite ways. Peta Ashton’s sense of vocation towards her work, like her gardens, is inspiring. It is bound up with her very personhood. Like so much at Parham House and Gardens, Peta’s tremendously personal expression of creativity is possible thanks to the patronage and involvement of Lady Emma.

Sheltered by the warm hues of the old brick garden walls covered in lichen, these gardens have a remarkable ability to gather and engage people. Families find a gentle place to wander in conversation, their time in the garden informed by the beauty around them. Keen horticulturists will pause to explore the subtleties and effects of the planting and compositions before them. Whatever your approach, though, you cannot fail to wander in this beautiful place without being moved by it.

I am looking forward to the Parham House and Gardens’ ‘Garden Weekend’ this Saturday and Sunday, 12th and 13th July 2014, 10.30am to 5.00pm. For more information go to www.parhaminsussex.co.uk or telephone 01903 742021. Tickets include the wonderful gardens and entry to the house and its superb collections. There are Parham plants for sale too – wonderful stock – so don’t forget to treat yourselves!

By Revd. Rupert Toovey. Originally published on 9th July 2014 in the West Sussex Gazette.

Fund-raising for Pallant House Gallery

Pallant House Gallery Chichester
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester

Toovey’s are holding a fund-raising valuations afternoon for Fine Art and Oriental Antiques on Monday 12th May 2014 at Pallant House Gallery, 9 North Pallant, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1TJ.

Toovey’s specialists will be at the gallery between 1pm and 5pm to offer free valuations of your paintings, sculptures and Asian and Islamic ceramics and works of art. A third of the seller’s commission for any items valued at the event and subsequently sold through auction at Toovey’s will be donated to the gallery.

Rupert Toovey comments: “The jewel-like collections of art at Pallant House Gallery affirm our county’s central place in the history of 20th Century Modern British. The vision of its directors, Simon Martin and Marc Steene, have established a reputation for exhibitions which are the subject of national acclaim. They have also pioneered the remarkable ‘Outside In’ program, which provides a platform for artists who find it difficult to access the art world, either because of mental health issues, disability, health and social circumstance or because their work does not conform to what is normally considered as art.”