Rupert Toovey appointed as Deputy Lieutenant for West Sussex

The Revd. Rupert Toovey., DL

The directors and staff at Toovey’s would like to congratulate Rupert on his appointment as a Deputy Lieutenant for West Sussex. Appointment to the office of Deputy Lieutenant is in recognition of distinguished service to the community, or to the country or county.

Throughout his career, Rupert has supported charities and communities across the county both personally and through his business. As an art historian he has a particular interest in medieval wall paintings and Modern British Artists working in Sussex. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in London, and a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He remains a keen advocate for building communities through art, music and heritage. In 2010, Rupert was ordained in the Church of England. He serves as a self-supporting Priest in the Diocese of Chichester whilst working full-time at Toovey’s. In short, his appointment is very well deserved!

Hogarth and his Contemporaries

William Hogarth, Marriage A-la-Mode: 2, The Tête à Tête, 1743/45 © The National Gallery, London

William Hogarth (1697-1764) has been described as one of Britain’s most important artists. His work is the subject of a major exhibition at Tate Britain which opens next week. This beautifully conceived show places Hogarth’s work in the context of his British and Continental contemporaries.

Hogarth’s satirical commentary on the excesses of dissolute lives in 18th century English society are defined by the strength of their pictorial narratives, and though the figures depicted are often caricatures they are also examples of portraiture of the highest order.

Hogarth’s own father underwent periods of mixed fortune and at one time was in debtor’s prison. This experience perhaps lends Hogarth’s work its uncompromising edge in his series of satirical social commentaries which included A Harlot’s Progress, A Rake’s Progress, and Marriage A-la-Mode, a scene from which you see here titled The Tête à Tête.

The couple are clearly disinterested in each other. The wife sits in an un-ladylike pose. Her attire and the look on her face implies her infidelity. In contrast her husband sits dolefully and impotent whilst the steward, dressed as a pious Methodist, walks away with a look of disapproval and a ledger under his arm which we are to presume is full of unpaid accounts. The picture is filled with hidden references to the couple’s dissolute lives and its emerging consequences.

William Hogarth was not only a painter but a printmaker and it was through his prints that his popularity grew making him perhaps the most significant English artist of his generation.

The exhibition highlights the influence of French and Italian painting and engraving on Hogarth’s work.

William Hogarth, The Painter and his Pug, 1745 Tate

I love the indifference of Hogarth’s pug as he sits before his master’s self-portrait. It gently illustrates Hogarth’s wit and realism.

Hogarth objected to slavishly pandering to his patron’s demands which he called phizmongering. The remarkable un-finished sketch Heads of Six of Hogarth’s Servants is my favourite in this rich exhibition. It illustrates the artist’s absolute gift and delight in portraiture at a democratic level. There is such insight into the sitters’ characters and concerns, reverence without caricature. Mrs Hogarth kept the painting in her possession at their Chiswick home until her death.

William Hogarth, Heads of Six of Hogarth’s Servants, c 1750/5, Tate

This welcome exhibition at Tate Britain provides a refreshing narrative for William Hogarth, his times, his contemporaries and his work. To book your tickets visit www.tate.org.uk

100 Years of the Royal British Legion

The Revd. Canon Kathryn Windslow, Rector of Storrington, leading a Service of Remembrance accompanied by the Royal British Legion, Storrington Branch, and Royal Navy Association standard bearers, Des Knight and Richard Shenton

This week I am in the company of the Royal British Legion Storrington Branch secretary Stuart Duncan who is honoured that our branch will be taking part in the 100th anniversary of the Royal British Legion.

Stuart explains how a Torch of Remembrance will be crossing East and West Sussex to mark 100 years of the Royal British Legion in Sussex. On Friday 27th August at 11:00am the torch will come to Storrington where a service of celebration and thanksgiving will be held in the grounds of St Mary’s Parish Church.

During the ceremony the Torch will pass from a Veteran to a member of our youth community signifying the passing of responsibility for remembering the fallen in war from one generation to the next.

The British Legion was formed on 15 May 1921, bringing together four national organisations of ex-Servicemen that had established themselves after the First World War

Every year the Royal British Legion leads the nation in commemorating and honouring service and sacrifice.

They remember those who lost their lives on active service in all conflicts; from the beginning of the Great War right up to the present day, as well as all those who have served and their families.

Every year in November, the Royal British Legion distributes paper poppies to raise vital funds to help today’s Armed Forces community.

In Storrington in 1919 at the Market Rooms by the White Horse Hotel a meeting of World War I veterans under the chairmanship of Capt George Graham formed the Comrades of the Great War. In 1920 Lt Col Ravenscroft donated some land and with support from the residents of Storrington and the Peace Celebrations committee a hut was built for the comrades on the site of the present social club. It was opened on Armistice Day by Mrs King of Fryern House. The club grew rapidly and in October 1921 it became the Storrington Branch of the British Legion.

Today the Storrington Branch has some 65 members who meet for lunch on St George’s Day and Armistice Day. They are a close community who care not only for members of their own branch but for the men and women of our armed services. Each year through the Poppy appeal they raise more than £10,000.
As Chaplain to the Royal British Legion Storrington Branch I am looking forward to leading the service and celebration with The Revd. Canon Kathryn Windslow, Rector of Storrington. Everyone is welcome at the ceremony and at the Old School afterwards.

Restoration and Renewal at Parham

Parham’s Head Gardener, Andrew Humphris in the greenhouse

In the first of two articles I am returning to Parham visiting Lady Emma and her husband James Barnard as they embark on a major restoration of their celebrated walled gardens at Parham.

It is some 28 years since Lady Emma and James came to Parham with their young family. Their time here has been marked by renewal and long-term stewardship in this ancient, processional place.

Emma explains “My great-grandparents, Clive and Alicia Pearson, fell in love with Parham as soon as they saw it. The house was in a poor state when they bought it in 1922.”

Lady Emma and James have a similar sense of long-term stewardship and the importance of ongoing renewal so I am excited to hear about the plans for the restoration of the walled gardens as we set off to find their recently appointed Head Gardener, Andrew Humphris.

I ask Andrew how he is settling in to his new role at Parham and the ongoing restoration of the gardens, he replies “This place is just fantastic there is so much potential. Restoring and maintaining a garden has to be a collaborative thing otherwise it never works. It needs a long-term relationship with the garden and the family.” He turns to Lady Emma and James and says “I want to make it special for you – and the team.”

Parham’s gardens in the crisp spring weather

There is a generosity, humility and rootedness apparent in the way Andrew speaks about a lifetime in horticulture, accompanying and following in his father’s footsteps with his wife, Jo.

I ask Andrew how he would describe himself, a horticulturalist or a garden designer perhaps. He pauses, smiles and replies “I’m a gardener.”
Andrew begins to speak about his work “In the garden I’m thinking about what I’m doing [and] in the moment inspiration comes at unexpected times. There has to be a whole to it but the detail matters, lifting a plant to weed – a love for a plant.” He continues “It’s important to pass things on too. You have to keep momentum, constantly being critical to keep it going forward and fresh.”

I comment on how Parham is famous for its borders and Andrew says “I love border colours” reflecting wryly he continues “striving for perfection in a border though with the weather and variables – still it’s the aim.”

The garden is full of activity and a sense of renewal as the garden team is clearing borders to deal with the bind weed. Other newly planted areas like the white border provide hopeful windows onto the future of this beautiful place. It is exciting to see the restoration in process.

Whether you are visiting for the first time or returning to an old friend, as I often do, Parham never fails to delight with its gardens and sense of history. Check out Parham’s new website www.parhaminsussex.co.uk and book your visit to the gardens.