1 Burnham Chase
H. Margery Clarke at her easel 2006
"The First" Gallery is also a private house in Bitterne, where the Clarke family have for many years provided a venue for good but often little-known artists and craftspeople to show and sell their wares. They also have an important role in promoting the work of a previous generation of local artists and in keeping their memories alive. The late Leo Stable, the founder of the John Hansard Gallery on Southampton University Campus was an associate, and the City Art Gallery maintains close links. Lots of people have never heard of "The First" Gallery (part of an ordinary suburban house); many others have made a mental note to come and have a look. Do feel free to ring for directions. While we are tucked away, we're well worth finding!
"The First" Gallery's PRIME ROLE IS SIMPLY AS AN ENABLER, TO MAKE OPPORTUNITIES IN AN ENJOYABLE WAY TO:
ORIGINALLY THE SPACE WAS MERELY THE SQUARE HALL BUT GRADUALLY EXTENDED UNTIL IT NOW INCLUDES ALL THE HOUSE EXCEPT THE BEDROOMS.
IN ORDER TO EXPAND, YET NOT INTERFERE WITH THE WELCOMING FEEL OF A FAMILY HOME, "The First" Gallery TOURING SHOWS WERE INTRODUCED AND HAVE BEEN ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, FROM THE Isle of Wight TO THE Shetlands AND FROM Falmouth to Wick.
SUBSEQUENTLY, THE LITTLE Patio Show OF POTS AND GARDEN RELATED THINGS HAS ALSO "GROWED" AND A PREVIOUSLY HIDDEN PATCH OF GROUND WAS TRANSFORMED INTO THE NEW "Secret Sculpture Garden" IN June 2000.
2006 had originally been mooted as the launch-date for the Eric Meadus, because it's his 75th anniversary. Since part of our "policy" (inasmuch as we have anything so formal!) is to keep his flame alive, we are commemorating his birthday (18 May 1931) in a small way with some activities around two exhibitions of his paper-based work (most of them never before exhibited):
Friday 19th May 2 - 7 pm
Exhibition open to view, at "The First" Gallery
While local historians, esp. those with photographic collections, would be invaluable to this process, anyone who may have walked past the same locations day in, day out, e.g. on their way to work, might be prompted to remember what they think they've forgotten by the sight of these drawings. The discussions occasioned by the meeting of like minds often prompts more detailed recall. (During a previous exhibition, a retired beat policeman was able to identify several locations, including some consisting just of rooflines, since the police are trained to keep an eye on upper storeys, as Eric Meadus - for more aesthetic reasons! - was also wont to do. So you don't need any particular historical knowledge to be of help).
Eric drew in many areas, as well as Swaythling for which he is renowned: the City Centre (esp. round the Pirelli factory; Central Station / Polygon; Bedford Place; Manchester Street; Portland Terrace; Chapel & The Deanery; Terminus Terrace; Queen's Park, down to the Floating Bridge terminal) almost any area which had bomb-sites; St. Mary's; Northam; Mount Pleasant; Bevois Valley; probably Derby Road area (before it became red-light); St. Denys; Shirley (we believe); West End; Netley; Weston; Eastleigh; Chandler's Ford. Anyone familiar with those areas may help in our research.
On Sunday, the shop is normally closed, but it is possible Peter may open specially for the half-hour before the Ride-&-Walk-about. Eric Meadus was born in Rigby Road, right round the corner.
Collections of postcards / books with photo-illustrations by Crispin Eurich are available at "The First" Gallery now, and will be made available by mail order through this site over the coming weeks. We hope to put up a small virtual photo-gallery, so those not within geographic reach of us can enjoy the talents of this remarkable photographer.
Crispin was the son of the painter Richard Eurich RA (1903 - 92). Initially he intended to follow in his father's footsteps, so began training at Southampton Art College. An accident to his hand, coupled with winning first prize in a 1950s Photokina competition, changed his direction. Henceforward the camera became his constant companion.
Before moving to London, where he was based for most of his career, Crispin lived with his family at Dibden Purlieu, in the north-eastern New Forest near Southampton Water. Fascinated by technology, he approached Esso (who have a major oil-refinery at Fawley, a few miles down the estuary) for permission to take photos at their plant, but was refused. In typically determined Eurich fashion, he proceeded to take pictures of the terminal from outside and submitted the results to them. Immediately the gates were opened for him and he was engaged by them freelance for the rest of his life. He travelled widely on assignments and was in the midst of a successful career when, before reaching 40, he died of a brain tumour. The full breadth of his oeuvre cannot be depicted by just a few images. His background and training bring an exceptionally painterly eye to bear on his subject. There is much kindly but sly and / or hidden humour, typical of the man. Artistically, there is an astonishing level of acheivement in many fields: (among others) people, architectural, industrial; areas which are usually photographic specialisms in their own right.
In 1987, we were planning an exhibition to commemorate the Lowry Centenary. He had connections with the city (hence "The Floating Bridge" painting in the Southampton City Art Gallery Collection) but their paintings were in Salford for the big national show. We decided to show drawings, just to mark the occasion. We knew about Crispin's now famous image of Lowry standing in his black coat outside his house in Mottram (which has since become a defining image of him, used enormously enlarged at the R.A. memorial exhibition and now, with others of Crispin's portraits, at The Lowry in Salford). Thanks to the late John Bulford* we discovered the posthumous publication "The Gentle Eye" (which title has been adopted by the octogenarian photographer Jane Bown; it was originated by Richard Eurich for the book), produced [we understand] to accompany Crispin's retrospective at The Photographers Gallery, London, in 1979. (Miss Bown had requested the use of it for her own NPG exhibition in 1980).
We originally contacted Richard for permission to use the photo on our publicity but, seeing the full stature of Crispin's work and the risk of its being lost, we decided to make a joint exhibition "Two Memorable Men", giving each equal prominence. This mushroomed into a long-running national tour — and a rich friendship with the Eurich family — with the further hope (achieved, in practice) of putting Crispin's work before audiences who would be tempted to come and look because of the Lowry name. Interspersing the two men's work illustrated some unsuspected parallels of compositional ideas, subject matter and co-incidence of places.
Unfortunately, for copyright reasons, we can't put any Lowry images on the site to show you what we mean, but this highly Lowryesque shot was (surely coincidentally) taken at one of his favourite seaside resorts.
Crispin would have been 70 this year . We intended to celebrate this with a full exhibition of previously unseen work and launch a dedicated website. On reflection, it needed more time to produce the standard of show envisaged, so we have postponed it; 2008 is, we believe, 50 years since he turned professional, so we hope to have several events and exposures of his work. Meanwhile, a selection of his original prints will form part of the Xmas Show in November. "The First" Gallery is entrusted with the Eurich photographic archive, the bulk of Crispin's negatives and prints. Our aim is to re-establish his reputation, eventually with his own national tour and perhaps a publication.
Collections of postcards / books with photo-illustrations by Crispin Eurich are available at "The First" Gallery now, and will be available by mail order through this site after March 1st 2008. We hope to put up a small virtual photo-gallery, so those not within geographic reach of us can enjoy the talents of this remarkable photographer.
* Southampton Art College tutor, who taught Crispin cabinet-making (which would have formed part of his complementary studies, as would have been standard practice in the 50s)
33rd Christmas Show
by Sasha Wardell
by Jonathan Andersson
Andrew Potter & Rebecca Morgan
by Philip Cox
& acrylics by Jan Janes
photographs & hand-made books by Liz Knightjewellery by Wai-Yuk Kennedy
(her first showing in the Central South)and Iona MacKenzie Laycock
wood-turning by Colin A. Smith
POTS by Alvin Betteridge | Clive Bowen | Lotte Glob | Sarah Perry
PAINTINGS by Philippa Bambach | H. M. Clarke | Richard Head | Eric Meadus (1931 – 70) | Tim Robinson
FABRIC by Lynne Hudson | Elizabeth Nash | Rachel L. Reynolds
JEWELLERY by Geoff D. Clarke (1925 – 98)| Lynne Hudson | Sarah Perry
AUTOMATA by Robert Race | John Lumbus | Peter Markey | Jeff Soan | Angela & Laurence St. Leger
also TOYS | FRAMING | PRINTS
sculpture Jacqui Lea Suzie Marsh Geoff Poulton leadlights Colin Twinn forged iron Jayne Wilson photographs Crispin Eurich (1936 – 76) turned wood Tony Caplin Peter Westermann Malcolm Wiggins and others
29 March - 12 April 2008 - now Extended to 20 April (this overlaps with our glass display)
Follow Link for an Extensive set of Reproductions on the web
Open until Sunday 18th May by appointment only.
Work by William Walker, Potter-Morgan (Andrew Potter & Rebecca Morgan), Tim Casey, Jonathan Andersson, Colin Twinn, Lotte Glob, Geoff. D. Clarke (1925 - 98) and probably others.
Follow link for pdf file with images and descriptions of many of the works on display.
ELIZABETH NASH . SUSAN ANDERSON
ELIZABETH KNIGHT . MAURA SUMMERS
View, discuss and buy artwork direct from the makers
Price range c. £30 – £150+
Though not here in person (and believe me, we tried!), Cuban designer
Many print-based media: engraving, monoprint,
collagraphy, etching, screenprint, photography, etc.
While all the exhibitors are printmakers (in some sense of the word)
most will also be displaying other aspects of their output. Some artists
may undertake small-scale demonstrations during the day.
‘ THE FIRST ’ GALLERY The First Burnham Chase Bitterne SOUTHAMPTON (023) 8046 2723 Record-breaking exhibition to mark the year he hits 60
Sat 13th - Sat 27th September 2 - 7pm (or by appt.) daily, incl. Suns.
TONY ÉVORA has a display of ’70s / ’80s work in The Space Upstairs. Sat 12th & Sun 13th July 11.30am – 4.30pm In practice, most artists will be present from 11am. If coming to see anyone especially, do ring to check their availability. On Saturday, both Sarah van Niekerk and Elizabeth Nash are travelling from a distance, hence our later ‘official’ start-time; on Sunday, only Liz Nash is.
"September Already?" top automatist Paul Spooner hits 60
Paul Spooner in his workshop, Sept. 2005 © by Alan Mahon
Many print-based media: engraving, monoprint, collagraphy, etching, screenprint, photography, etc. While all the exhibitors are printmakers (in some sense of the word) most will also be displaying other aspects of their output. Some artists may undertake small-scale demonstrations during the day.
‘ THE FIRST ’ GALLERY The First Burnham Chase Bitterne SOUTHAMPTON (023) 8046 2723
Record-breaking exhibition to mark the year he hits 60
Sat 13th - Sat 27th September 2 - 7pm (or by appt.) daily, incl. Suns.We will be devoting one corner to mark the centenary of Sam Smith (1908 - 83) a Southampton man whose sculpted and jointed figures, while most emphatically not automata, darkly caricature the human condition, and stimulated a fair proportion of Paul Spooner's co-exhibitors to become automatists themselves. Sam was also personally encouraging to two [now] doyens of the movement, Peter Markey and Frank Nelson.
34th Christmas Show
Sat. 8th – Sat. 22nd November 2008
Private View: Fri. 7th Nov. 6 – 9pmUNTIL Sun. 16th, incl.: 2 – 7pm, daily
or by appointment (which can be mornings, or later in the evenings)
AFTER 16th, just ring 023 8046 2723 to fix a mutually
Festive Final Sunday: 23rd Nov. 11am – 2pm
A more compact display remains visitable by appointment until Dec. 24th
[Click on an image for enlarged version]
Something fishy at this year’s show? This doesn’t mean the show is totally piscine! Despite the fish in the bill of Philip Cox’ papier mâché seagull
This doesn’t mean the show is totally piscine! Despite the fish in the bill of Philip Cox’ papier mâché seagull[photo L], or
EXHIBITOR LIST [IN CAPS = quite a few pieces of work previously unshown here; * = “new face” at The First ]
IMAGES by Susan Anderson [prints] | H. M. Clarke [paintings & prints] | Elizabeth Knight [photographs] |
TIM ROBINSON [collages] | Sarah van Niekerk [wood engravings]
FABRIC & TEXTILES by Margery Clarke [soft toys] | HAZEL BURROWS [silk scarves] | LYNNE HUDSON [knitted scarves & jackets; crocheted
oil-lamp & Xmas Tree decorations] | ELIZABETH NASH [painted / dyed silk hangings, accessories & canvases] | Rachel L. Reynolds [stitched felted pictures]
JEWELLERY by LYNNE HUDSON [mizuhiki] | WAI-YUK KENNEDY [stitched embroidered felted ear-rings / brooches]
AUTOMATA by Sue Evans | John Lumbus | Peter Lennertz | PETER MARKEY | ROBERT RACE | JEFF SOAN | ANGELA & LAURENCE St. LEGER
GLASS by Jonathan Andersson | Andrew Potter & Rebecca Morgan | Colin Twinn | William Walker
SCULPTURE by Suzie Marsh | Geoff Poulton
PAPER PRODUCTS by H. M. Clarke [hand-coloured gift-wrap] | PHILIP COX [papier mâché] | Elizabeth Knight [hand-made books] | SYLVIA ROBINSON [découpage boxes] *
TURNED WOOD by Tony Caplin | Joe Freeman | John MacKinven | Colin A. Smith | Peter Westermann | Malcolm Wiggins
OTHER WOOD by Paul Clarke [hand-coloured framing] | SUE EVANS [jigsaw-cut sculptures] |
also BOOKS CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS CUT-OUTS & CARDS
|Tim Robinson uses collage, a relatively modern method using pieces of paper stuck to a surface, introduced by Picasso in the 1920s. He cuts and places the paper in a considered yet random way that evolves during the making. His work reaches into areas generally painted in oils, reintroducing favourite themes as well as exploring different experimental images.
In Tim's words, 'The joy of this form of picture making continues to inspire and challenge, with the hope of more to come'.
Tim's work is well known, having exhibited solo recently at several galleries in East Anglia and in Southampton City Art Gallery. He has a piece in the permanent collection of the House of Lords.
M. Clarke’s exhibition of tiny-to-small* oil-paintings
packing a surprisingly powerful punch
Sat. 5th – Sun. 13th Sept., 2 – 7pm, daily
Mon. 14th – Sat. 19th, by arrangement, at any reasonable time
PV: Fri. 4th, 6 – 9pm Open Morning: Sun. 20th, 11am – 2pm
* less than 1m. / 39½″ perimeter; smallest 8.5 5cm / 3½″ 2″
Recent cataloguing of Hilda Margery Clarke’s oil-paintings revealed an estimated lifetime’s total approaching 675. Little ’uns comprises at least 10% of this output. Alongside what she would call her full-size works, for much of the 45+ years she’s used the medium, HMC has created pictures on small offcuts of board. Often evolving from end-of-session paint applied with no endpoint in view, they ‘grow’ through inspiration and suggestion. It’s no surprise to her, though it may be to you, that these images can be as powerful as those much larger.
Despite their size, such paintings can’t be just dashed off. Even those that look as if they were completed at one sitting have been worked over with the same artistic rigour as HMC dedicates to something measuring 1 sq. m. or more, attending to paint-quality (one of her hallmarks), texture, visual balance, etc. None of these aspects are input consciously: her method is far more intuitive than that. Retaining the original freshness after she has re-worked the surface indicates a level of skill only acquired after long experience.
Tiny pictures can often find niches in overlooked corners of your home. The arrestingly inventive ‘hang’ of this show should inspire you to find new spaces for pictures, even in already crowded rooms. A whole display of teeny-weeny originals would be visually indigestible but many of our walls, usually hung with just one work, will be laid out with a focal painting close to A4 size (still “small”, in art terms) surrounded by many smaller ones.
The exhibition (in "The First" Gallery’s programme as a late-replacement for another, postponed until Spring) happens to suit the current financial climate, with prices starting under £100 and many under £250.
PYROGRAPHY, often misnamed 'pokerwork', uses a hot needle to scorch the wood surface. In the hands of a master-craftsman like David Orchard, it becomes a technique capable of sophisticated, subtle texture and shade.
Follow Link for full details
Sat 13th - Sun 21st 2-7pm
Mon 27th onwards - any previously agreed time
A Selection of First Gallery artists past and present
(click for pictorial tour)
OTHER ARTISTS on show have almost all exhibited with us, but the pieces here are either all we have, or are part of a very limited stock, which we cannot add to.
Where indicated, framing is by PAUL CLARKE of The CornerShop. He can be contacted via "The First" Gallery 023 8046 2723
See http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont for travel etc
See the Beatrix Potter Exhibition at the same time (July-September 11-4.30, closed on Fridays and on Monday 13 September)
(follow the link for full information)
Please note that, if you've found this site during our second week (Nov. 22nd – 27th) you need to ring first to check that someone's in attendance to let you in; if so, you can just turn up. This informal arrangement operates year round, whenever there's no main show on.
Even during exhibitions, if you wish to – or can only – visit outside our set drop-in times of 2 – 7pm daily (which apply during the first 9 days of every show), the same ring-up-and-turn-up system runs (as long as someone is in, of course!)
Media to include: drawing painting bas-relief & wicker sculpture print book-works digital photography textiles
Opening Hours — first & last weekends 11am – 6pm
Sat. / Sun. 9th / 10th July & 13th / 14th August
All dates in between (11th Jul. – 12th Aug.): open by appointment
Amusing moveable pieces by two established automata-makers; follow link for more
Sat. 3rd – Sat. 17th September
HOURS: UNTIL Sun. 11th incl. 2 – 7pm, daily; other times by prior arrangement.
FROM Mon. 12th, please ring to fix a time
Pre-View Fri. 2nd Sept. 6 – 9pm
Special Final Sunday Opening 18th Sept. 11am – 2pm
a joint exhibition by Ray Reynolds & Olivia Keith
More ... (these visiting times are a change to our previous pattern, and will apply to future exhibitions until further notice)
Special Feature: Suzie Marsh animal sculptures
mixed display on the theme of Cycles
Weekdays: only by prior arrangement
Friday evening Preview 9 Nov 6-9pm
9th – 24th March
The Wonder Of Peter Markey
A selling retrospective exhibition of drawings, paintings & prints by an artist of literally extraordinary vision, best known for his automata
Sat. / Sun. 15th / 16th June 2013 11am – 4pm
June 29th - July 28th 2013
with brandied mince pies
then drop-in hours at weekends only, by appt. weekdays
The "First" in conjunction with Southampton City Art Gallery
H. M. CLARKE original prints
reprising the pairing of the first serious art show at "The First" in 1974
Sat. / Sun. 28th / 29th June and on (watch this space) 11am - 4:30pm
It was based on her one-woman exhibition in June 1997 at the Aspex
Gallery, Portsmouth, organised by Les Buckingham (who also
wrote the catalogue) but with later additions, including some relating to Mexico.
Jacqueline Mair Tour
[No Longer available in this form]was previewed
with a selection of the works at "The First" Gallery on Sunday 19 September
It was based on her one-woman exhibition in June 1997 at the Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, organised by Les Buckingham (who also wrote the catalogue) but with later additions, including some relating to Mexico.
Peter Markey's Birthday Party * Meadus mini-Shows and Walkabout * Plans
A selection of works by "The First" Gallery artists
2005 Programme and News
2004 Programme and News
2003 Programme and News
2002 Programme and News
2001 Programme and News
2000 Programme and News
1999 Programme, News and Brief Artistic History
The First ... 25 Years
Summary of 1996-1998 Programme
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