Monday, 15 February 2010

Day trip to Chichester

Source: Culture24 via Henry Moore Foundation Archive

I was lured into deepest Sussex last weekend by the temptation of seeing Henry Moore textiles at the Pallant Gallery in Chichester. About 20 charity shops later, we were in need of a cup of tea and still hadn't made it to the gallery. The streets of Chichester are lined with all sorts of charity shops, from pristine colour coordinated displays to totting piles of treasure. Treasures I picked up included bagfuls of Babycham glasses and a 1950s embroidery magazine. I liked this dandelion design.

One of the wonderful Opie collection books was spotted and a Ladybird 'lever, pulleys and engines' book - which on closer look we renamed as the Ladybird guide to poltergeists and telekinesis.

Chichester is also home to an old fashioned sweet shop (tongue tattoos were bought in abundance), a wonderful tea shop, serving up organic vegetarian lunches and yummy lemon almond cake, the fabulous Kims Books, and its very own vintage emporium, in the form of the One Legged Jockey, crammed with clothes, annuals, crockery and all sort of vintage accessories a day tripper might need (a set of lucky shot glasses made it home with us).

Although anyone tempted to don a flat cap they had purchased might be in trouble...

Oh, there is a cathedral too, but that will have to wait until another trip. The buildings are lovely too. I liked this disused shop within a shop, tiled lady and door knocker and the little alleys and backstreets.

When we made it to the Pallant Gallery, we were distracted first by the building and then by the Eric Gill woodcuts - simple lines, the hand of god, eyelashes, stars and a bit of cheek too. Finally, we made it up to the textiles exhibition where we were treated to beautiful examples of Moore's work with Ascher Fabrics, printed linens and rayon, silk scarves, dress fabrics and wall hangings. At first look, they seem like batik prints, but seeing his sketch books, the fabric prints are based on his designs worked in wax crayon and washed over with black water colour. I loved the scribbles and loose lines that transformed into abstract patterns, tigers and standing figures and were printed up in fantastic shades of raspberry, taupe and mustard. The exhibition is interspersed with film, small sculptures and photos, including one of Mrs Moore running up a pair of curtains with some of the fabric.

Source: Christies

Source: Culture24

The exhibition is on until next weekend, and well worth a trip. But make sure you allow time for the rest of the gallery too, which I stumbled into about 5 minutes before closing time, most of which I idled away being bemused by the large pine cones placed on the antique chairs to stop you sitting down (although I wasn't so sure if this was the case in the surrealist room) before being swept away by Susie MacMurray's Shell - the highlight of the day.

Photo: Susie MacMurray

If you can't make it down there, then get the crayons and water colours out and try out your own designs. Or collect some shells.


sew obsessed said...

Chichester sounds like a "thrifters" dream place. What a day out!

Amelia said...

wow - what a trip!! It sounds amazing in so many ways. I would never have though to visit, but I could do with a really good charity shop crawl and a nice cuppa at a tea shop, very nice. Almost feel I've been there myself!!!



Concetta said...

Oh, love the crayon / watercolour thing - we did that by accident the other day with the kids! And that dandelion...mmmm a nice mosaic version. Thanks for the inspiration. x

TinTrunk said...

Great post! I'm disappointed that I will miss the Henry Moore textiles show, but you've convinced me that Chichester is worth a trip anyway!

Unknown said...

Oh god!! I need to go there!!! Charity shops wait for me I am coming....I went to see the Henry Moore foundation, amazing!!!
See you on friday