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Helen Ridhalgh: Admiral Collingwood bust
Friday June 21, 2019
The Story Behind the Bust of Admiral Collingwood
Unveiled in the HMS Collingwood Wardroom 9th June 2019

On the 9th June 2019, there was an unveiling of a bronze bust of Admiral Collingwood. This article gives the story behind this project.

A few years ago, as the Chairman of the HMS Collingwood Officers’ Association, I attended Ceremonial Division where the Association awards a sword to an RN Officer who has contributed to the Establishment above and beyond the normal call of duty. On this particular occasion I met Captain Stephen Healy who is Chairman of the Collingwood Society. Stephen is a Merchant Navy Officer now working for Trinity House based in Newcastle. We started talking about Admiral Collingwood and he clearly is a subject matter expert. He told me that the Asociacion Menorca Brittania had commissioned a life size bust of the Admiral to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his death. After the battle of Trafalgar, Collingwood commanded the Mediterranean Fleet and during this time he lived on the Island. His splendid house “Fonduco” which is now the Hotel Almirante contains much of his history. The bust overlooks the bay at Port Mahon.

Helen Ridehalgh, a renowned sculptress from Devon, was commissioned to produce the bust. She spent over 6 months researching the subject and, once made, the bust was installed. What I also learnt from Stephen Healy was that a second bust was cast and installed in the Town Hall of Morpeth. Collingwood’s wife Sarah and 2 daughters lived in Morpeth. So Morpeth commissioned the second bust and it was unveiled by Commodore Mike Mansergh, who at the time was commanding HMS Collingwood. I visit Northumberland regularly to enjoy coastal walks and took the opportunity to visit the Town Hall and view the bust. I was really impressed. I am not sure when I actually thought of the idea, but I thought HMS Collingwood should have its own.

Then two years ago we lost Bill Legg who founded the Officers’ Association. Bill described HMS Collingwood as his second home. We all know how much Bill did for the Establishment as a whole over many years. I thought that there really ought to be a permanent memorial to Bill and so I put it to the Committee that perhaps we should procure the third bust. The committee suggested we extend the memorial to include other deceased members which I thought was a very good idea.

Captain Charles Crawford, when commanding HMS Collingwood, was offered the chance to purchase the famous Collingwood Tankard which now sits in the Wardroom. Charles went about raising the necessary funds by what would now be called Crowdfunding. I thought we should copy his successful idea.

I contacted Helen Ridehalgh to find out if the mould still existed, and fortunately it did. She provided the estimate for the production and so at last year’s Trafalgar Ladies’ Night I launched the appeal to raise the necessary funds. Not sure we would raise the entire total from Association members I received support from the then Mess President that Wardroom funds would be available, if necessary, as a top up. I also contacted some families of deceased members to inform them of this project. Within weeks of the launch we had raised sufficient funds without needing to ask the Wardroom for a top up. I was so pleased about the rapid and overwhelming support of members and families.

With funds available I was able to invite Helen to proceed. It was decided that an appropriate occasion to unveil the bust would be on the day of the 2019 AGM, and that is what happened.

Helen decided to do more research to ensure accuracy of the piece. She modified the medals he wears slightly so, despite being the third edition, this is actually unique. Her friend and fellow sculptor, Andrew Lacey cast the bust at his foundry in Devon. I was invited down to witness the application of the patina, which I did. It was fascinating as well as a wonderful opportunity to meet both Helen and Andrew.

I had discussions with both the Mess President and Scott Davidson, our Mess Manager, as to where to site the bust and I hope you all agree it has a very prominent position within the Wardroom foyer.

A mess member, Paul Sutton, who worked with Bill over many years kindly agreed to make the socle on which the bust is mounted so Paul, a big thank you from us all. We used a local firm, Hillcrest Engineering Ltd in Fareham to produce the plaque. I am grateful to that Company for the quality of workmanship and support they gave us.

So, it was with enormous pride that, on Sunday the 9th of June 2019 I invited Bill’s daughters, Sonia and Karen, to unveil the bust. Around 90 members, families and guests witnessed the event and we toasted the Admiral, Bill and deceased members and the Officers’ Association.

This was my last act as Chairman as I have now handed over to John McGrath. I think the Officers’ Association is important. One of the reasons I offered to become the Chairman was that many of the members taught me and supported me during my naval career. To them I offer my gratitude. To all those who donated to enable us to install this exceptional piece of artistry I also offer my thanks.

Adrian Whytnie

From the Sculptor Helen Ridehalgh SWAc Associate:

The bust of Admiral Collingwood was first commissioned by the Associacion Menorca Britannia to commemorate the Anniversary of his death in March 1810 and was to stand on the Isla del Rei overlooking the Port of Mahon and his shore quarters when he was in Menorca.

A second edition was commissioned in 2013 for the Town Hall in Morpeth where Collingwood had lived and was commemorated.

This third edition was commissioned in 2019 by HMS Collingwood to stand in their quarters at Fareham Hants.

Each edition is unique and the foundry work was that of Andrew Lacey. 

Admiral Collingwood 3rd edition sculpture, Helen Ridehalgh SWAc Associate, Andrew Lacey

Judith Cummings: Ruth Borchard Collection Exhibition
Monday June 10, 2019
Judith Cummings: Ruth Borchard Collection Exhibition

Newly elected Academician, Judith Cummings, has been selected for the Biennial Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize 2019 Exhibition, Piano Nobile Kings Place, York Way, London N1 23rd May until October.

Read more about the exhibition at: ruthborchard.org.uk

Self-portrait by Judith Cummings

New SWAc Members Welcomed
Friday June 7, 2019
New Members Welcomed by Chair, Robert Mountjoy

From left to right the new members are:

Marie Noelle-Davies (Associate) Mark Fielding (Academician) Judith Jones (Academician) Janet Mitchell (Academican) Judith Cummings (Academician) Bob Mountjoy (Chair) Steve Manning (Associate) Sue Luxton (Academician) Phil Clayton (Academician) Debbie Coles (Associate).

Artists Talk at the Delamore Stables Gallery
Wednesday May 15, 2019
Artists Talk at the Delamore Stables Gallery

On a sunny Spring afternoon we arrived for an early lunch at Delamore’s busy and excellent ‘pop up’ café which is located near the main house.

Delamore’s Stable Gallery is a short walk from the café where we found some early visitors already viewing our SWAC exhibition and eagerly awaiting the start of the talks scheduled for 2.00pm by four of our SWAC members, who had kindly offered their services.

Steve Manning (Printmaker); Carolyn King (Illustrator); Helen Ridehalgh (Sculptor); and Philip Clayton (Painter). Standing next to their work, each artist had a fifteen minute slot in which to explain their work and methods and to answer any questions.

Academy Trustee and Academician, Alan Bourne (Talks and Workshops) welcomed the visitors and introduced our first speaker Steve Manning , a recently appointed Associate member. Steve is a printmaker who works from his own studio but also uses some of the services provided by the Double Elephant at the Phoenix in Exeter.

Steve explained his time consuming technique of meticulously cutting into small sheets of lino, describing his methods of adding colour at the different stages in the process to create beautiful delicately muted lino prints.

Helen Ridehalgh is also a SWAC Associate, sculptor and lecturer. The story of how she came to create her bronze sculpture ‘Dog’ was a fascinating one and her description of the intricate techniques involved equally so. Helen has just created a sculpture of Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood who served with Admiral Lord Nelson, and was, so I believe, a distant relative of mine!

Illustrator Carolyn King was the third artist of the afternoon. She spoke movingly about creating ‘family paintings of times gone by’ inspired by delving back into her old collections of old family photographs. Carolyn talked about the egg tempera medium and oil paint that she often uses in her work.

She is also the author and illustrator of several children’s books, often in verse, and these were on display.

Carolyn ended her fascinating talk by reading her poem created especially for her partner Phil, and entitled ‘The Man in the Hat’. This neatly led her in to introducing our last artist of the afternoon, painter Philip Clayton.

Phil chose to give his talk in the area outside the stable block. Not surprising really, as some of his canvases were the largest on display. Phil is a natural teacher as was evident to my husband Alan and myself, when we took our two young grandchildren to some of his after school classes held at the Mill Gallery Lyme Regis.

His intuitive juxtaposition of ‘fauvist’ colours really ‘Zing’ in his paintings. He described the gradual evolution of his style from realism to abstraction and all achieved with just a single paintbrush and some paint! Phil’s advice was not to hurry – to take time to allow your paintings to evolve and provide you with clear moments for quiet contemplation.

It was an excellent afternoon shared by many visitors and SWAC members. Our special thanks to our four SWAC members for not only allowing us a peek into their art world but also perhaps inspiring us to think more clearly and imaginatively about our own.

Ann Jones (Ann L Roe Hon SWAc)
Photos by Alan Jones

Steve Manning

Carolyn King

Helen Ridehalgh

Philip Clayton

Film: Academy Exhibition at Stables Gallery
Wednesday May 8, 2019
Film: Exhibition at Stables Gallery, Delamore Park

This video is about a visit to the SWAc Academy Exhibition at the Stables Gallery, Delamore Park 2019.

SWAc Patron Announcement
Wednesday April 10, 2019
SWAc Patron, Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE DL

The Trustees are delighted and honoured to announce that Baroness Floella Benjamin of Beckenham OBE DL has agreed to be the first Patron of the South West Academy of Fine and Applied Arts. Lady Benjamin is a distinguished actress, singer, author, television presenter, businesswoman and parliamentarian and after 43 years still appears regularly on children’s television programmes.  Her book ‘Coming to England’ is used in schools and covers Windrush history. The Prime Minister appointed her Chair of the Windrush Commemoration Committee to create a lasting monument to celebrate the contribution to Britain made by the Windrush Generation.

Lady Benjamin has close links with the South West and for ten years was Chancellor of Exeter University and became famous for hugging every graduate imploring them to 'change the world’. When she stepped down as Chancellor, the University put up a statue of her in recognition of her contribution to the City of Exeter.  

We look forward to welcoming Baroness Floella Benjamin to one of our exhibitions this year.

Photo by Ayo Banton

Martin Procter / Laurel Keeley: Exhibition
Thursday March 28, 2019
Martin Procter and Laurel Keeley: Exhibition
Still Picking Bones
17 May - 15 June 2019

This exhibition of Martin Procter’s exciting work, thirty six paintings, with Laurel Keeley's wonderful ceramics, brings together two of the Westcountry's leading contemporary artists in the prestigious setting of the Penwith Gallery. The connecting theme is to do with their individual ways of seeing over, through, beneath the landscape, discovering new tracks - picking over the often hidden bones of a place - and seeking to make intuitive, grounded, beautiful work, hand- formed land, made in paint and clay, light and heat.

Please join us at the private view - Friday 17 May 5.30 - 7.30 pm or Saturday 18 May 11.00-3.00pm.

There will be a further opportunity to meet the artists on Saturday 1 June between 10.00am and 12.00 noon. Martin will be pleased to meet at the gallery by arrangement through the duration of the exhibition.

Penwith Gallery, Back Road West, St.Ives, Cornwall TR26 1NL.

Film: SWAc Winter Exhibition
Wedneday March 20, 2019
Film: SWAc Winter Exhibition
at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery 2019

This video is about a visit to the SWAc Winter Exhibition at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery during January 2019.

Cartoon Storybook Workshop
Tuesday March 12, 2019
The Wonderful World of Jed and his cartoons!
Cartoon Storybook Workshop
Thelma Hulbert Gallery - Saturday 2nd February 2019

The art room at the Thelma Hulbert gallery was packed to the gunnels with excited youngsters all eagerly awaiting the first of two workshops by SWAC’s brilliantly talented cartoonist, film maker and graphic novelist Jed Falby.

Each child was awarded a generous working space and provided with a pen and specially bound blank - paged booklet.

The ‘maestro’ stood in front of a wall covered with white paper which quickly and magically became covered with his own cartoons as he explained the basics of cartoon storytelling.  This was all accompanied with a constant flow of ideas and suggestions to stimulate the creative imagination of his young and attentive audience and to help them make a start.

My grandson Jacob along with the other youngsters all ended up with wonderfully personal graphic stories to take home with them.

Jed conducted a second workshop with slightly younger children later in the afternoon.

Jed is a charismatic and natural teacher and we very much look forward to more workshops of this kind.

We all loved the workshop and are most grateful to you for giving us your time and talent.

Thank you Jed.

(Ann L Roe Hon.SWAc )

by Jed Falby

Phil Creek: Memory Cafe Workshop
Tuesday Jan 23, 2019
Phil Creek: Memory Cafe Workshop

Academician Phil Creek uses Clarice Cliff , English ceramic artist active from 1922 to 1963. as his inspiration for the participants in a Memory Cafe workshop at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton.

Martin Dutton SWAc: Autobiography Published
Tuesday Jan 22, 2019
Martin Dutton: Autobiography

Academician Martin Dutton's illustrated autobiography is now available. The book is 222 pages with 283 illustrations mainly of his paintings.

Available direct from Martin - Softback £30, Hardback £35. Plus £4 registered post and packaging. For further information please contact him by email at nitram@live.co.uk

Simon Butler: Talk on Olive Hockin
Friday Jan 18, 2019
Simon Butler: Talk on Olive Hockin

SWAc Trustee Simon Butler's talk on Olive Hockin, given at the South West Academy Open Exhibition on 17.12.2018 can be read or downloaded as a PDF here.

Below are drawings made at the presentation by Jed Falby, Hon SWAc.

Film: Open Exhibition 2018
Tuesday Dec 4, 2018
Film: Open Exhibition 2018

This video records a visit to The South West Academy Open Exhibition 2018. The tour takes you through Gallery 1 and then Gallery 2 and picks out the prize winners and some other pieces for closer viewing. The Celebration of Women Artists Exhibition in the Ballroom Gallery can be seen on a separate video below.

Film: A Celebration of Women
Thursday Nov 29, 2018
Film: A Celebration of Women Artists
At the 2018 Open Exhibition

In November 2018, to mark the Centenary of Women's Suffrage, the South West Academy presented a 'Celebration of Women Artists' exhibition within its Annual Open Exhibition.

The Exhibition included a talk by Simon Butler on Women Artists and the life of Olive Hockin, suffragette, artist and land girl, with a performance by the Songfishers.

Film: Preparing 3D Work
Sunday Oct 14, 2018
Preparing 3D work for Delivery
Film showing how to prepare 3D work.

Alan Cotton: Studio Exhibition
Friday Oct 12, 2018
Alan Cotton Studio Exhibition
Brockhill Studio Colaton Raleigh Devon EX10 0L
1st and 2nd December 2018, 10am to 5pm

Two summers ago Alan Cotton travelled to Transylvania to gather new ideas for his paintings. For many it is a land of legend and mystery, but for Alan it was an amazing discovery of a landscape and way of life largely unchanged for centuries. The wildflower meadows, hayricks and village cultivation provided rich material for a series of paintings of this pastoral landscape. For this studio exhibition he has produced a collection of new Transylvanian paintings together with work from Provence, Venice, Piemonte and Hartland in North Devon.

The exhibition is open for two days only, when the artist will be there to welcome anyone who would like to visit the studio and see his work.

Transylvania – The Vegetable Garden at Miklosvar. Oils on Canvas 51 x 61 cm 20 x 24 ins.

John Hurford at Brownston Summer Show / Sculpture Garden
Monday July 23, 2018
Brownston Gallery Summer Show / Sculpture Garden

Academician John Hurford features in the Brownston Gallery Summer Show which now includes a new Sculpture Garden.

Lazy Sunday Afternoon - Pimms and Music Sunday 22nd July 2-5pm. RSVP to art@thebrownstongallery.co.uk.


Artist Anna Grayson at the RA
Wednesday June 20, 2018
Artist Anna Grayson at the Royal Academy

SWAc would like to congratulate Exeter artist Anna Grayson on her success at the Royal Academy. Anna produces ironic photo pastiches of iconic paintings. She has been a regular contributor to SWAc Open Exhibitions and we are delighted that Grayson Perry chose two of her photographs for his yellow room.

Short Film: Delamore Arts 2018
Friday June 8, 2018
Short Film: SWAc at Delamore Arts 2018

This video is about the South West Academy Exhibition at Delamore Arts, Devon during May 2018.

Laurel Keeley and James Tatum: Exhibition
Saturday May 12, 2018
Uncommon Ground: Ceramics and Paintings
Tuesday 22nd May - Friday 25 May 2018 10-6pm
St. Stephens Church, High Street, Exeter EX4 3LW

Academicians Laurel Keeley and James Tatum are holding a joint exhibition of ceramics and paintings at Stephen's Church, Exeter



Phil Creek and Stephen Bower: Exhibition
Wednesday May 09, 2018
A Brush with Devon; East Devon Revisited
May 19 - June 2, 2018

Phil Creek will be exhibiting with art college friend Stephen Bower at his local gallery, The Georgian House Ottery St Mary.


Wendy McBride: Exhibition
Saturday April 14, 2018
Exhibition: Landmarks
April 21 - May 5 2018

Wendy McBride's Solo Show Landmarks will be At White Space Art, Totnes from April 21 to May 5.

White Space Art, 72 Fore St, Totnes TQ9 5RU


Long Field by Wendy McBride

'Art@Darts': Darts Farm Exhibition
Friday April 6, 2018
Summer Exhibition at Darts Farm

Darts Farm and SWAc Academician Ray Balkwill have teamed up to present an exciting new art venture. The award-winning farm shop and lifestyle destination provides the ideal hub to showcase some of the finest West Country art. The new venture, known as 'ART@DARTS', will bring together some leading contemporary artists.

The Mixed Summer Exhibition will feature the work of three SWAc Academicians: Ray Balkwill, Judy Hempstead, and Tony Williams, as well as Associate member Jo Vollers. Penelope Timmis will also be exhibiting and is a member of the Society of Woman Artists. The inaugural exhibition will bring together an eclectic mix of subjects in various media. Books, prints and cards will also be available and admission is free.

It will be presented in The Estuary Room, Darts Farm, Topsham on the 1st - 3rd June. 10 am to 5 pm (4 pm on Sunday).

James Dart and Ray Balkwill with one of his paintings

Alan Gregory: Teignwich Artists Exhibition / Fundraising
Monday March 26, 2018
Alan Gregory: Exhibition/Fundraising

Alan Gregory, one of the friends of the Academy, will be donating 100% of all sales proceeds in a forthcoming exhibition to the specialist Turner Ward in Torbay Hospital which looks after leukaemia (and other haematology) patients.

Alan was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia, APL, in late January. As someone who had hitherto been very fit, the diagnosis was a complete surprise. As Alan put it "it is extremely fortunate that my condition was treated promptly and responds well to treatment". However, a long stay in an isolation ward of the hospital for his initial treatment made him aware of a few issues for patients. "The standard of care and professionalism shown by the entire team is absolutely exemplary. It truly is the NHS at its very best. But there are, as ever, limits to what the NHS can provide from its limited funding, and long stay patients need comfort and stimulation. This can be in the form of reading materials, TV and radio, gentle exercise devices and maybe even art materials. All of this relies on charitable funding, and as someone who has benefited from this I am keen to help others".

Alan himself cannot be present at the exhibition, which runs at TAAG, Northumberland Place, Teignmouth from Good Friday, 30th March to Friday 13th April, as he is undergoing further rounds of chemotherapy, but he is grateful to his fellow artists in the exhibition for arranging hanging and stewarding of his work. Meanwhile, he is continuing to paint when treatment allows and feels he is recovering well.


Robert Mountjoy: Winter Exhibition Film
Saturday March 17, 2018
Robert Mountjoy: Winter Exhibition Film

Academician Robert Mountjoy has created a short film documenting the Winter Exhibition at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery 2018:


Helen Ridhalgh: Admiral Collingwood bust  21.06.2019

Judith Cummings: Self-Portrait Exhibition  10.06.2019

New Members Welcomed  07.06.2019

Artists Talk at the Delamore Stables Gallery  15.05.2019

Film: Academy Exhibition at Stables Gallery  08.05.2019

SWAc Patron Announcement  10.04.2019

Martin Procter and Laurel Keeley: Exhibition  28.03.2019

Film: SWAc Winter Exhibition at THG  20.03.2019

Jed Falby: Cartoon Storybook Workshop  12.03.2019

Martin Procter / Laurel Keeley: Exhibition  23.02.2019

Phil Creek: Memory Cafe Workshop  23.01.2019

Martin Dutton: Autobiography  22.01.2019

Simon Butler: Talk on Olive Hockin  19.01.2019

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