Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Help the Fry Art Gallery buy its Building!

Eric Ravilious, Two Women in a Garden, 1932
The Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden is one of my favourite art museums, being small, mildly eccentric and full of work by artists I like. Visiting from Bristol poses a logistical challenge or two, but it's always worth the effort. I was there for the launch of the 'Ravilious in Essex' show a few years ago, and what an entertaining day that turned out to be. On those occasions you can be sure to meet some interesting people and hear a tale or two.

Anyway, the Fry has been going sicne 1985 and now its custodians have the opportunity to buy the lease - correction, freehold! - of the building, which was built in the mid-19th century to house the art collection of Quaker businessman Francis Gibson - it still seems like a private gallery, but one to which we're all invited. Success in its fundraising mission would mean that the Fry's valuable role as first port of call for students and admirers of the Great Bardfield artists is assured for posterity.

In case you're wondering who the aforementioned artists are, they include Eric and Tirzah Ravilious (or Tirzah Garwood), Edward Bawden, John Aldridge, Kenneth Rowntree and the Cheeses, Bernard and daughter Chloe. For a full list, why not have a look at the Fry's website? You will also notice, tucked away at the bottom of the Home Page - how typical of the gallery to ask for money so discreetly - a mydonate button.

And you have until October 25th to visit the Fry's 30th anniversary exhibition, which features work by numerous artists with a Bardfield connection, from Rav and Bawden to Grayson Perry. Have a look and see what Martin Gayford thought of the show...

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