2015 Shipley Arts Festival Launch

Andrew Bernardi and members of his music group
Andrew Bernardi and members of his music group

It is a cold winter’s Sunday evening as patrons, sponsors and the friends of the Shipley Arts Festival are generously welcomed at Sedgwick Park House by its owners, Clare and John Davison. We have come together to launch the 2015 Shipley Arts Festival.

Francis and Christina Maude with Andrew Bernardi and Jonathan Lucas
Francis and Christina Maude with Andrew Bernardi and Jonathan Lucas

It has been my long-held belief that music has the power to transform our lives and communities. This is certainly at the heart of the vision of my great friend, the musician and Shipley Arts Festival Director Andrew Bernardi. He has brought his international reputation as a violinist and the 1696 Stradivarius to Sussex, providing an unprecedented focus for music and the arts and the opportunity to build up this fantastic community in our county.

Each year the Shipley Arts Festival brings some of the country’s leading musicians to our churches, stately homes and gardens to perform a varied repertoire at the highest level. Andrew comments: “We have built longstanding relationships with many of these artists who dedicate themselves to the festival and our community as they return each year.”

Andrew Bernardi, Clare and John Davison and The Lord High Sheriff of West Sussex, Jonathan Lucas
Andrew Bernardi, Clare and John Davison and The Lord High Sheriff of West Sussex, Jonathan Lucas

The breadth of engagement with our local community quickly becomes apparent as The Lord High Sheriff of West Sussex, Jonathan Lucas, and myself are introduced by Andrew Bernardi to those who, like myself and Toovey’s, passionately support the work of this generous and inspiring individual. Francis Maude M.P. has supported the festival from its early days and his wife Christina, an accomplished pianist, performs at some of the concerts. Individuals, young musicians and Sussex businesses, like Toovey’s and Spofforths, all play their part in the success of what Andrew describes as “a celebration of community through music”.

Andrew Bernardi with Professor Malcolm Singer
Andrew Bernardi with Professor Malcolm Singer

The West Sussex Gifted and Talented String Academy is part of this vision and something very dear to Andrew’s heart. It seeks to be aspirational and inclusive, creating the opportunity for a musical education of the highest calibre to children from all walks of life. It is a child’s ability and potential that determines their selection for this enrichment program, not their ability to pay. Andrew has an innate ability to build community and bring organisations and individuals together. The String Academy is partnered with Windlesham House School and its head, Richard Foster, who is passionate about the project.

The Gifted and Talented String Academy is also engaged in a two-year collaborative project with the Yehudi Menuhin School and its Director of Music, the composer Professor Malcolm Singer. Andrew comments: “The Yehudi Menuhin School is one of the finest string schools in the world and it is great that our string players encounter Malcolm and the school.” Andrew Bernardi is clearly moved as he speaks about Yehudi Menuhin; the life and work of this famous violinist is a great inspiration to him.

Against the backdrop of this splendid house, with its roaring fire and panelled walls, we are ushered into the music room, where we are treated to music composed and conducted by Malcolm Singer, played by students from the String Academy and Yehudi Menuhin School. Andrew and his group then play a series of pieces from this year’s concerts. The faces of all are transfixed as the music of J.S. Bach fills the room.

Like a conductor at the head of an orchestra, Andrew Bernardi weaves together our shared gifts and resources and blesses our community in West Sussex.

As Jonathan Lucas launches the 2015 Shipley Arts Festival, he celebrates Andrew, the Shipley Arts Festival and the young musicians.

As the speeches and applause fade in my imagination, the music continues to resonate in my heart. I am uplifted as I wind my way home across the ancient lanes of our county, the winter hedgerows and trees picked out in the headlights against a cold, clear night sky.

Tickets for the Shipley Arts Festival concerts go on sale on Monday 2nd February at The Capitol Horsham box office. Telephone 01403 750220 or go to www.thecapitolhorsham.com to book your tickets. Demand is expected to be strong for these concerts, so don’t delay!

By Revd. Rupert Toovey. Originally published on 28th January 2015 in the West Sussex Gazette.

Order (dis)Order!

An early 19th Century study from the Painted Chamber by John Smith
An early 19th Century study from the Painted Chamber by John Smith

In scenes reminiscent of an important debate at the House of Commons the galleries were packed with people at the Horsham Museum & Art Gallery for the opening of Order (dis)Order! The exhibition was opened by the Lord High Sherriff of West Sussex, Jonathan Lucas.

This colourful exhibition celebrates our nation’s Parliamentary history and Horsham, Steyning and Bramber’s role in it over some 720 years.

In a year which marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta by King John at Runnymede it is extraordinary to reflect that it is also the 750th anniversary of the first English Parliament, called by Edward I (1272-1307) in 1275.

Left to right The Chairman of Horsham District Council, Cllr Brian O’ Connell with the Lord High Sherriff of West Sussex, Jonathan Lucas and Exhibition Curator, Jeremy Knight
Left to right The Chairman of Horsham District Council, Cllr Brian O’ Connell with the Lord High Sherriff of West Sussex, Jonathan Lucas and Exhibition Curator, Jeremy Knight

In 1295 Edward I summoned what was to become known as the ‘model Parliament’. The King invoked a Roman phrase when he proclaimed “What touches all, should be agreed by all”. Its representation of two knights from each county and two burgesses from each town was to provide the model for almost all future Parliaments until more modern times. Horsham Steyning and Bramber were all boroughs and could elect MPs.

Sir Peter and Lady Hordern with the Lord High Sherriff of West Sussex, Jonathan Lucas
Sir Peter and Lady Hordern with the Lord High Sherriff of West Sussex, Jonathan Lucas

The exhibition traces Parliament’s history from these earliest times to the present day. It explores many of the distinguished and ‘colourful’ characters who have brought great and important social and economic change to our nation, as well as those who have brought less noble intent and disrepute upon Parliament. Take for example Elyot Roger the MP for 1421. A chapman by trade, he was indicted for breaking into the house of John Dawtre, stealing plate and clothes and ‘ravishing’ the unfortunate Mrs Dawtre!

But the exhibition gives colour to more than these characters. My eye is taken by some exquisite watercolours of what appear to be medieval wall paintings. Jeremy Knight, curator of the exhibition, explains. “In 1801 Irish MPs joined the House of Commons. It had been meeting in St Stephen’s chapel which now needed to be radically altered and enlarged to accommodate this influx of additional MPs. As a temporary measure whilst work was underway they moved to the Painted Chamber. When the tapestries and Sir Christopher Wren’s carvings were taken down they revealed the fantastic medieval wall paintings recorded by John Smith. His hand coloured pictures are all that remain. The original wall paintings were destroyed as part of James Wyatt’s remodelling of the Palace in the early 1800s.” The public outcry to save the paintings is recorded in the press at the time. However, it is unlikely that they would have survived the fire at the Palace of Westminster in 1834 or German bombing during the Second World War. John Smith’s record is of great importance.

Those gathered for the opening included Horsham’s distinguished former MP and Deputy Lieutenant for West Sussex, Sir Peter Hordern. Lady Morse a, descendant of the three generations of the Hurst family, who were MPs for Horsham between 1812 and 1875, attended with her husband Sir Jeremy and were delighted to have contributed to this fascinating exhibition.

From Medieval times to Women’s Suffrage this exhibition provides a remarkable insight into the nation’s Parliamentary history and our county’s place in it. Order (dis)Order! runs at the Horsham District Council Horsham Museum & Art Gallery, The Causeway, Horsham until 7th March 2015. Entrance to the Museum and exhibition is free. For more information go to www.horshammuseum.org or telephone 01403 254959.

By Revd. Rupert Toovey. Originally published on 21st January 2015 in the West Sussex Gazette.

Identifying the unidentified

For many collectors, research can be a source of great joy or, when unfruitful, great frustration. Today, in this age of the internet, a powerful resource of knowledge is literally at our fingertips. Most of us will now ‘Google’ the answer to something, rather than refer to a book. This was not the case in the late 1980s, however, when Mr Savory, a postcard collector from Northants, purchased a group of five postcards from a local fair. Filed under ‘Sussex’ in the dealer’s stock, with a hearsay attribution of being Littlehampton, the collector secured them for their military interest but obviously wanted to find out more. His quest to discover the incident pictured lead him to write a plea for help to the editor of the West Sussex Gazette. On May 21st 1987 nearly half of a page was dedicated to four of the five postcards. Readers of the newspaper wrote in, some with their snippets of facts and some with their reminiscences of these events or similar events. It was discovered that, although they all related to the Battle of Britain, they did in fact illustrate two different events.

Junkers 88A down at Pagham postcard auction ©2015 Toovey's
A series of four Battle of Britain postcards

Four of the postcards record the fate of a German bomber which took off on a sortie to attack the London Docks on 9th September 1940. It was a Junkers 88A, works no .0333, coded 4D+AD, of Stab 111/KG30. For those not familiar with such terms, it was an aircraft of the Staff Flight of the 3rd Wing of Kampfgeschwader (Bomber Group) 30. It was piloted by Gruppe Kommandeur Major Hackbarth and his crew comprised Oberfeldwebel Manger, Unteroffizier Sawallisch and Gefreiter Petermann. The first two survived but the other two died in an attack almost certainly launched from Kenley, probably by 253 Squadron Hurricanes but possibly by Spitfires of 66 Squadron. It was subsequently force-landed off Pagham at 5.50pm and soon after that is the moment the postcards start to capture the event. Two of the postcards depict British soldiers guarding the aircraft; another shows an injured member of the crew on a stretcher and the final view is of soldiers removing a spoil of war, the swastika from the tail, as a memento. One of the letters from a reader of the newspaper claimed that the removed tail panel resembled one in the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, which had been used during the war as a scoreboard by a Hampshire Territorial searchlight troop. Another reader stated that, as a curious local schoolboy in Pagham, he was inside the plane and removed the factory serial plate from the cockpit (long since lost), which gave the release date from the factory as the previous day!

Postcard of Sgt. Cyril F. Babbage returning to shore at Bognor Auction ©2015 Toovey's
Postcard of Sgt. Cyril F. Babbage returning to shore

The fifth postcard was originally believed to be part of the same series but, in fact, illustrates a separate event from the Battle of Britain. It shows Sgt. Cyril F. Babbage returning to shore at Bognor on 26th August 1940. He had been piloting a Spitfire X4188 of 602 Squadron Westhampnett (Goodwood airfield). A contemporary account was published in an unidentified newspaper, the clipping of which was offered by someone responding to Mr Savory’s plea. It stated:

A thrilling air battle was witnessed over a South-East Coast town on Monday afternoon during an air raid alarm, when machine gun fire rattled overhead, and the thuds of bombs were heard exploding in the distance, punctuated by sharp cracks of anti-aircraft guns… As soon as our ground defences held their fire nothing could be heard except the sharp rat-tat of machine guns… One of our fighter pilots during the engagement baled out of his plane, and could be seen descending towards the sea. He pitched in the sea about half a mile off shore, where he was picked up by some fisherman. He was brought ashore with cheers ringing in his ears from several hundred persons who flocked to the sea-shore, although the all-clear had not sounded, thus incidentally, exposing themselves to extreme danger.

The pilot was rowed to shore by two fisherman from Littlehampton and the ‘L.I.’ registration code on the boat was perhaps the clue for the original dealer’s attribution. The fishermen, Messrs N. & A. Ide and a member of the Ragless family, recalled that Babbage was smiling cheerfully as he had shot a Messerschmitt prior to two others setting upon him over Selsey Bill. It was Hauptman Mayer of 1/JG 53 that finally put him out of action at 4.43pm; he was taken to Bognor hospital ‘slightly hurt’. One West Sussex Gazette reader said that he subsequently went back to his squadron and ‘had a very chequered career, being shot down, or damaged in action at least three more times, during the Battle of Britain.’

Perhaps today Mr Savory would have typed in ‘crashed German plane on the Sussex coast’ or similar into a search engine and, after visiting swathes of results, found out all the information he needed. He would not, though, have found all the fascinating reminiscences that were relayed by readers of the West Sussex Gazette, among them an anecdote of a lady who dived into a stinging nettle patch fearful of a chasing plane, only to see the R.A.F. roundels pass overhead! It was this research that brought the postcards to life for Mr Savory and why these postcards gave him so much pleasure.

Having enjoyed the postcards ever since, Mr Savory has decided to sell the postcards at Toovey’s forthcoming auction of Paper Collectables on 24th February 2015, encouraged by the fantastic results achieved for Sussex postcards in these specialist auctions. The group of four photographic postcards of the German bomber at Pagham carry a pre-sale estimate of £70-100 and the single photographic postcard of Babbage’s return at Bognor will be offered separately at £30-50. In addition to Postcards, Toovey’s sales of Paper Collectables also include Stamps, Cigarette Cards, Autographs, Photographs and Ephemera.

Valentine’s Day Gift Inspiration for Her 2015

It’s tough finding the right present for that special someone in a petrol station on the 13th February! So to help you get organised we’ve looked through our catalogue for our forthcoming auctions on the 28th, 29th and 30th January and found five Lots that might just be the perfect gift for that special lady in your life this Valentine’s Day…

Lot 338: A late Victorian silver rectangular photograph frame with heart shaped aperture within radiating reeded and beaded border, London 1898 by William Comyns, height approx 18.5cm. Estimate £70-100
Lot 619: A platinum and diamond single stone ring, claw set with a circular cut diamond. Estimate £800-1200
Lot 623: A pair of diamond earrings, each collet set heart shaped drop suspended from a collet set circular cut diamond surmount, length approx 1.1cm, cased. Estimate £800-1200
Lot 1580: A Meissen porcelain Devisenkinder figure, late 19th Century, modelled as Cupid forging hearts, after the model by Acier, raised on a triangular base titled 'Je les enflamme', crossed swords in underglaze blue, incised 'F4', impressed '131' and red painted '62' to base, height approx 13cm (left arm restored). Estimate £200-300
Lot 2715: A 19th Century Limoges enamel plate, painted with a central panel of two classical figures below Cupid, within a border of masks and scrolls, all decorated in white and gilt on a blue ground, diameter approx 23cm. Estimate £1000-1500

Valentine’s Day Gift Inspiration For Him 2015

It’s tough finding the right present for that special someone. We’ve looked through our catalogue for our forthcoming auctions on the 28th, 29th and 30th January and found five Lots that might just be the perfect gift for that gentleman in your life this Valentine’s Day…

Lot 94: After John Blaeu - 'Suthsexia Vernacule Sussex' (Map of the County), engraving with near period colour, approx 40cm x 55cm, within a gilt frame. Estimate £100-150
Lot 360: An early Victorian silver castle-top card case of rectangular form with hinge lid, one side die-stamped with a scene of Newstead Abbey, the other with Warwick Castle, each within engine turned borders, Birmingham 1839 by Taylor & Perry, length approx 9.6cm. Estimate £600-900
Lot 1010: A Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer steel gentleman's bracelet wristwatch, the signed circular black dial with luminous Arabic and baton shaped numerals, Mercedes hour hand and centre seconds, the dial detailed 'Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer Super Precision', on a steel Oyster bracelet with a Rolex fold-over clasp, with a Rolex green case. Estimate £1200-1800
Lot 1074: An early 20th Century walnut cased barograph with lacquered brass mechanism and clockwork recording drum, beneath a five glass cover, on a rectangular base with frieze drawer and bracket feet, length approx 36.5cm. Estimate £200-300

Lot 1471: A Continental bisque porcelain figure of a nude, circa 1900, modelled lying with her hands behind her head, length approx 10cm. Estimate £30-40