Toy Fundraiser at Horsham Museum

Toovey’s toy valuation event in support of the Horsham Museum & Art Gallery has become an extremely popular annual fundraising event. Toovey’s specialist toys valuer, Christopher Gale, will be at the museum on Saturday, 16th February 2018, between 10am and 12noon providing free auction valuations and advice on your toy trains, cars, Star Wars action figures, models, teddy bears, dolls and collectors’ toys.

A number of valuable toys have been discovered at previous events. Chris Gale who is donating his time explains: “A third of the seller’s commission for items subsequently auctioned by Toovey’s will be donated by us to Horsham Museum to help with its important work.”

For a morning of fun and free pre-sale valuations come to the Horsham Museum & Art Gallery, The Causeway, Horsham, RH12 1HE on Saturday 16th February, 10am to 12 noon. Toovey’s next specialist toy sale will be held on 19th March 2018.

Volunteers Celebrated at Amberley Museum

Some of the outstanding volunteers at The Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre outside the Fairmile Café © Pete Edgeler, Used with permission.

Last week I was invited to present a series of awards to some of the outstanding volunteers at the Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre to coincide with National Volunteers’ week.

As I walked towards the stationary steam engines I came across Dave Ballantyne and a row of gentlemen seated in their boiler suits enjoying their picnic lunches in the sun. Over our heads the beautiful sound of the Goodwood Spitfire’s Merlin engine reverberated in the lee of the Downs. As I looked up Dave said “We often see that here.”

As you walk around the museum you often hear the enthusiastic voices of volunteers before discovering them at their work. The museum is beautifully kept, constantly improving and changing thanks to this dedicated group of people. One of the latest projects is the restoration of the West Sussex County Council steam road roller and the museum is seeking to raise £2000 to finish the job.

The awards were being given in recognition of outstanding dedication and commitment. I met up with the volunteers at the Fairmile Café. The Director of the Museum, Leanne Clements, paid tribute to the diversity of volunteers and thanked them for all that they do.

Award winner Tony Turley with Rupert Toovey amongst the tool displays at Amberley © Peter Edgeler, 2018

One of the volunteers receiving an award was Peter Edgeler who, together with his fellow members of the photo group, is creating an important visual archive of the museum’s life and history. Recording history is important to our understanding of not only the past but our present and future too. Another of the award winners was Tony Turley. He was keen to show me the Tools and Trades History Society displays.

I asked Tony how his fascination with tools began. He replied “Twenty years ago I returned home with a box of tools I bought at auction. Cleaning and restoring them gave me a real sense of satisfaction and my interest began.”

Tony’s knowledge and enthusiasm for tools is infectious. I am fascinated by how often collecting objects leads to a rich path of learning and understanding.

The tools at Amberley Museum are displayed in and behind a series of glazed, bow front windows, each representing a different trade. These include carpentry, leatherworking, and agricultural tools. Tony explains “The Worshipful Company of Carpenters gave us a grant and we designed and constructed the building ourselves. When I was visiting London I saw these bow windows which had been made by their students to be marked. I asked if I could have them rather than break them up and they had five delivered to Amberley with the doors. By constructing a corridor of shop fronts it has allowed us to have the tools on display even when it’s not manned.”

The Worshipful Company of Carpenters and The Tools and Trades Association has blessed the museum which now has an additional display space and a workshop.

Tony reflects that he commonly hears visitors saying “I used to have one of these” prompting family stories and memories.
I can empathise. Objects are vital to our understanding of history as individuals and as a nation and Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre brings our social, economic and industrial history to life in a unique and exciting way.

Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre welcomes volunteers of all ages and if you would like to join in go to www.amberleymuseum.co.uk/volunteering or telephone Catherine Hawkins on 01798 831370.

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.

The Perfect Bank Holiday Destination

‘Gazer’ the raku rabbit with a herd of bouncing bunnies
‘Gazer’ the raku rabbit with a herd of bouncing bunnies

The 2017 Arundel Gallery Trail coincides with the Arundel Festival. More than 150 artists are exhibiting this August Bank Holiday weekend in over 65 venues in and around Arundel.

The opening of ceramic artist Josse Davis’ exhibition has, for me, become synonymous with the start of the Arundel Gallery Trail.

A stoneware jug titled ‘The Art Class’ by Josse Davis
A stoneware jug titled ‘The Art Class’ by Josse Davis

I catch up with Josse and his partner, Melissa Alers Hankey, in the Duff Gallery as they put the finishing touches to the exhibition. My eye is immediately taken by a large blue and white stoneware jug by Josse Davis. Its beautiful baluster form bears testimony to the skill of this talented potter. Titled ‘The Art Class’ it is wittily decorated with a nude surrounded by artists and their canvases. Josse shows me how he has painted the nude on each of the artist’s canvases from its own perspective. I comment on how these vignettes add to the scene’s playful narrative. Josse responds saying “I like to think my work makes people smile.”

Ceramic artist, Josse Davis, in the Duff Gallery, Tarrant Street, Arundel
Ceramic artist, Josse Davis, in the Duff Gallery, Tarrant Street, Arundel

Josse Davis has exhibited at the Arundel Gallery Trail every year since it began. He comments “I notice how people who came more than twenty-five years ago are now returning with their own young families talking about when they bought their first figure or pot as children”.

A display of raku ware running rabbits is sure to be a favourite with children and adults alike. With prices ranging between £15 and £50 they are an accessible way to start to collect Josse’s ceramics. Each rabbit is individually modelled with its own name. Josse says “I add the eyes last – it gives them such life.” Melissa says “Their character isn’t fully revealed until they come out of the kiln.” Raku ware acquires its crazed appearance as the molten glaze cools suddenly and it shatters.

Josse’s father, the artist Derek Davis, started The Arundel Gallery Trail with a small group of other artists. Each year the Derek Davis Prize is given in his memory. The recipient is voted for by their fellow artists exhibiting in the gallery trail. In 2016 the prize was awarded to Josse Davis.

Josse Davis’ reputation as a ceramic artist is in the ascendancy and his prices are rising with his signature pieces selling for between £400 and £800.

The Arundel Gallery Trail is open 2.00pm to 5.30pm during the week and 12 noon to 5.30pm this Bank Holiday weekend. It provides art lovers with direct access to leading Sussex artists like Josse Davis and their work. For more information on exhibiting artists and this celebration of Sussex as a centre of art go to www.arundelgallerytrail.co.uk.

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.

 

Horsham’s Art Gallery Attracts National Attention

Christian Mitchell, Nicholas Toovey, Rosa Sepple., PRI, Robin Hazelwood., PPRI, and Jeremy Knight at the opening of the RI: Now 17 watercolour exhibition

The Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, Now 17 summer exhibition is currently on show at The Horsham Museum & Art Gallery. The Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours (RI) rarely holds exhibitions outside London and this show highlights the growing reputation of Horsham’s exceptional regional art gallery.

The exhibition was opened by the President of the Royal Institute, Rosa Sepple, and the Chairman of Horsham District Council, Christian Mitchell, in front of a large audience.

The RI can trace its origins back to 1807 when it was first formed as the New Society of Painters in Watercolours. Early exhibitors included the luminaries William Blake and Paul Sandby. The Society closed in 1812 but was resurrected by the artist Joseph Powell in 1831. The Society acquired its Royal status by order of Queen Victoria in 1883. For much of its existence its home was opposite the Royal Academy in Piccadilly but in 1971, together with a number of other leading societies of artists, it moved to the Mall Galleries as part of the Federation of British artists. Her Majesty the Queen is the RI’s patron.

Since Horsham’s art gallery was opened in 2010, to compliment the museum’s already outstanding program, visitor numbers have doubled making the Horsham Museum and Art Gallery one of the most visited arts and heritage destinations in the whole of Sussex.

Responding to this demand the museum changed its collecting policy. It now collect’s not only Sussex related art, but also watercolours by leading exponents of the medium. A watercolour collection of national significance is being built with financial support from The Friends of Horsham Museum, collectors, businesses, trusts and institutions. I am delighted that Toovey’s have already donated a number of watercolours by key British artists and are sponsoring the exceptional RI: Now 17 show. This exceptional selling exhibition includes watercolours by some twenty leading RI artists including works by the current President.

Charles Bone’s watercolour, Sussex Downs

The beauty of the Sussex Downs never fails to excite me. The watercolour, ‘Sussex Downs’, by RI past President Charles Bone, captures the shifting grey-green hues of the late spring and early summer. His broad but delicate brushwork gives us a sense of the fast changing play of light and weather on this ancient landscape. Charles Bone is understandably celebrated for his ability to record landscapes and architecture.

Lillias August’s Hanging by a Thread watercolour being painted in her studio

Lillias August’s watercolour ‘Hanging by a Thread’, in contrast, conveys a stillness which appears out of time. The three-dimensional quality of the light bulbs depicted is emphasised by the economy of her palette and the building up of painstaking layers of wash. ‘Hanging by a Thread’ seen here in her studio allows us to glimpse something of the artist’s working method.

These are just two of the delights in the RI: Now 17 exhibition which gives the backdrop for a number of summer events celebrating watercolour paintings and artists at the Horsham Museum & Art Gallery.

Highlights include a talk by Art Historian, Nicola Moorby, on Turner’s watercolour technique on the 8th June 2017, and Nick Toovey of Toovey’s Auctioneers will once again be holding a fundraising valuation event for paintings, prints, books, postcards and other paper collectables on Saturday 10th June 2017, 10am to 1pm at the Horsham Museum & Art Gallery.

This current show, RI: Now 17, is proof of Horsham Museum & Art Gallery’s growing national reputation. Curator, Jeremy Knight, is once again deserving of our thanks.

The RI: Now 17 exhibition runs until 15th July 2017 at Horsham Museum & Art Gallery, The Causeway, Horsham, RH12 1HE and entrance is free. For more information visit www.horshammuseum.org or telephone 01403 254959.

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.

Christmas and New Year opening hours at Toovey’s 2016/2017

Please note that we close for the Christmas period at 5.00pm on Thursday 15th December and reopen at 10.00am on Thursday 29th December for pre-sale viewing of our End of Year Sale on 30th December.

Note: All enquiries regarding this sale will be responded to on our return.

After the sale day, we are closed from New Year’s Eve Saturday 31st December to Monday 2nd January.

We return to our normal opening hours from Tuesday 3rd January:
Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm for valuations and 9am to 5pm for all other enquiries.