Art and Coffee at The Beaumont, 17th Feb 2023: The Village Wedding by Luke Fildes


Our next Art & Coffee morning will be

on Friday 17th February, 11.30am (for about an hour)

at The Southgate Beaumont, 15 Cannon Hill, N14 7DJ

when our Take One Picture starting point,

“The Village Wedding” by Sir Samuel Luke Fildes (1843-1927) [1883; private collection],

will lead us into a discussion of British Victorian ‘social realism’ paintings.

Looking forward to seeing you there!


Art, Books and Culture at The Beecroft, Saturday 21st January 2023: Painters and Portraits in the (first) Elizabethan Age

Join us at The Beecroft Gallery

on Saturday 21st January, 11.15am to explore

Painting in England at the time of Elizabeth I

We will explore portraits of Queen Elizabeth I such as this, by an unknown English artist, created to commemorate victory over the Spanish Armada [c.1588; National Portrait Gallery @NPGLondon;] along with work by known artists including Nicholas Hilliard, Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder and Levina Teerlinc.

From Sir Walter Ralegh (by an unknown English artist; 1588; NPG) to William Shakespeare (attributed to John Taylor; c.1600; NPG), and from ‘propaganda’ portraits to ‘intimate’ miniatures for lovers and the visual records of state events, we will enter into the extraordinary realm of Elizabethan England!

As ever, all are welcome to join the discussion – an open forum for ideas. Tickets cost £10 on the door. We will start at 11.15am and finish around 12.30pm with coffee & biscuits. The meeting will be held in the Lecture Theatre at The Beecroft Art Gallery.

Books of interest include:


Words and Pictures Book Group, 13th Jan. 2023: “National Treasures” by Caroline Shenton

Join us for the first Words & Pictures book club of 2023

on Friday 13th January, 2pm (for an hour or so)

at Pebbles Cafe (the old Haven’s Building, Hamlet Court Road)

to discuss:

“National Treasures: Saving the Nation’s Art in World War II” by Caroline Shenton

Published in paperback by John Murray Press in October 2022, the publishers describe:

National Treasures highlights a moment from our history when an unlikely coalition of mild-mannered civil servants, social oddballs and metropolitan aesthetes became the front line in the heritage war against Hitler. Caroline Shenton shares the interwoven lives of ordinary people who kept calm and carried on in the most extraordinary of circumstances in their efforts to save the Nation’s historic identity.


With the National Gallery walls all but empty of paintings, Myra Hess filled Room 36 with glorious piano playing

(photo: National Portrait Gallery)


The Words & Pictures book club meetings are informal gatherings over coffee and cake where the conversation is gently booky, arty and definitely friendly; free to join, and there’s no need to register in advance – hopefully see you there!


Art and Coffee at The Beaumont, 20th January 2023: An Impressionist Winter

Join us at

The Southgate Beaumont

15 Cannon Hill, Old Southgate, N14 7DJ

on Friday 20th January, 11.30am (for about an hour) to discuss

the Impressionists’ Art of Winter: snowy scenes, yet full of colour and texture, such as:

Claude Monet’s “Lavacourt Under Snow” [1888; National Gallery, c/o]

Snow scenes were a particular favourite among the Impressionists, and Monet painted several canvases that explore the way sunlight plays upon the snow, reflecting tones of red, pink, purple and blue at different times of day. –

There will be coffee and biscuits and, no matter the weather outside, we will be warm and cosy in the gorgeous surroundings of the Beaumont! All welcome!


(postponed from December 2022)

Art, Books and Culture at The Beecroft (17th December 2022): The Flower Paintings of the Impressionists

Join us at The Beecroft Gallery, Southend on

Saturday 17th December (11.15am for an hour and a half, or so)

to chase away the grey skies and discuss

The Flower Paintings of the Impressionists (and beyond).

Inspired by the current exhibition “Manet and Eva Gonzales” we will explore how flower painting became a means to explore new ways of painting and, especially, colour,

from Pierre-Auguste Renor’s “Study of Flowers” at The Fitzwilliam (c/o to Vincent Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” series, one of which is at the National Gallery (c/o

As always, everyone is welcome.

There is a £10 charge on the door, with tea and coffee afterwards.


Words and Pictures Book Club, 9th December 2022: “Sybil and Cyril” by Jenny Uglow

Greetings! Please note the change of date.

Our next Words & Pictures book club meeting will be on

Friday 9th December, 2pm (for about an hour or so)

at “Pebbles” (the old Havens building, Hamlet Court Road)

when we’ll be discussing:

Published by Faber & Faber

In 1922, Cyril Power, a fifty-year-old architect, left his family to work with the twenty-four-year-old Sybil Andrews. They would be together for twenty years. Both became famous for their dynamic, modernist linocuts – streamlined, full of movement and brilliant colour, summing up the hectic interwar years. Theirs was a scintillating world of Futurists, Surrealists and pioneering abstraction, but alongside the buzz of the new, of machines and speed, shops and sport and dance, they also looked back, to medieval myths and early music, to country ways disappearing from sight.

It looks absolutely fantastic and, as ever, we’ll have lots to discuss over our coffee and cake!


Art, Books and Culture Group at The Beecroft, 19th November 2022: The Life and Art of Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun


Please note the “unusual” date for our next meeting on

Saturday 19th November, 2022

11.15am (for about an hour or so) at The Beecroft Gallery, Lecture Theare

when we will be discussing

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

whose glorious Self Portrait is at the National Gallery:

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun Self Portrait in a Straw Hat 1782 Oil on canvas, 97.8 x 70.5 cm Bought, 1897 NG1653

The Gallery’s short biography of her reads:

Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842), the daughter of a minor painter, Louis Vigée, was born and brought up in Paris. She became a member of the Académie de St-Luc in 1774 and of the French Academy in 1783. She was a highly fashionable portrait painter, patronised particularly by Queen Marie Antoinette. Between 1789 and 1805 she travelled in Europe and visited Russia.

Today, we’ll explore her life and art in revolutionary France and across Europe.

All are welcome to our informal – but hopefully informative! – art history discussions.

Tickets are £10 on the door, and there will be coffee & biscuits afterwards.

Please note, next month’s meeting will also be on an “unusual” date – Saturday 17th December.

Art and Coffee at The Beaumont, Friday 18th November: The Life and Art of Adélaïde Labille-Guiard

For residents and local community alike, please join me on

Friday 18th November, 11.30am (for an hour)

at Barchester Southgate Beaumont Care Community, 15 Cannon Hill, Old Southgate, London N14 7DJ

to explore and discuss

“Self-Portrait with Two Pupils (Marie Gabrielle Capet and Marie Marguerite Carreaux de Rosemond)”

by French artist Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (1749–1803) in 1785.

The painting is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York collection which has a fabulous online essay about the artist by Katharine Baetjer who notes:

The most important work by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard is her Self-Portrait with Two Pupils. Signed and dated 1785 and exhibited in the Salon of the same year, this lifesize, full-length portrait of a modern woman seated before her easel teaching younger women to paint by her example is a bold statement. 

All welcome!

Southend Mayoral Charity Talk for Remembrance 2022: Thursday 10th November

Join me on

Thursday 10th November, 10.30am

for this year’s Remembrance Day Talk

at Porters Civic House & Mayor’s Parlour, Southchurch Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS1 2NE

“Picturing War across Town and Country: John Piper and Graham Sutherland”

We will explore these artists’ paintings from World War II when they set out to record the home front.

John Piper (1903–1992): Coventry Cathedral [1940; Manchester Art Gallery] c/o ArtUk – just click on link for a fascinating essay by Lynda Nead.

Graham Vivian Sutherland (1903–1980): Cornish Tin Mine, Emerging Miner [1943; Leeds Art Gallery; c/o ArtUk]

Mayor Kevin Robinson of Southend City has chosen the brilliant St Vincents Centre – a busy community hub in Southend which runs vital services and programmes to support vulnerable people in the local community – as his main charity this year.

For tickets please telephone The Mayor’s Charity on 03001021557

All welcome!

Two paintings by William Crosbie…

Popping into The Beecroft Gallery this morning, I discovered two paintings by the artist William Crosbie (1915-1999) that absolutely fascinated me, each in their own right and also in comparison and contrast to each other.

The first is “Mother and Child” [1952]:

Crosbie, William; Mother and Child; The Reiff Collection;

Born in China to Scottish parents, the National Gallery of Scotland tells us, he studied in Glasgow in the early 1930s, then, in Paris later in the decade. One might suggest then that a number of influences from both places have combined in the creation of this fascinating and really quite mysterious work of art, which leads to a little “gallery” in the mind.

The layering and patterning of shapes through outline, colour and texture brings to mind Eileen Agar’s paintings, the ‘mother’ figure perhaps especially if we look at “Muse of Construction” [1939; c/o Christies], revealing the interaction of Cubism and Surrealism through the 1930s:

The Surrealist element certainly comes through in the unnamed figure floating above the child in Crosbie’s painting: is it an angel, or something more threatening and nightmarish, even the figure of death (note how the mother’s arm blocks it, holding it at bay)?

Both artists also share a powerful sense of colour. The Lyon & Turnbull Gallery notes that in 1939, William Crosbie returned to Glasgow where he was part of “‘a little local renaissance’ with figures including the Scottish Colourist John Duncan Fergusson”…

And the child, protected by the mother certainly, but with a distinct – if perhaps uncertain – individuality that recalls Joan Eardley’s portraits of children such as “Brother and Sister” [1955]:

Eardley, Joan Kathleen Harding; Brother and Sister; Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums;

Looking through William Crosbie’s paintings at National Galleries of Scotland and it is clear that he was brilliantly experimental, and that colour was central to his vision as the second painting of his at The Beecroft, “Hampshire Harvest” [1991; Reiff Collection], also shows. In subject matter and style (and indeed scale, for it is tiny in comparison with “Mother and Child” canvas) this is quite a contrast, but the richness of the palette is breath-taking…

Crosbie, William; Hampshire Harvest; The Reiff Collection;

Oh, couldn’t one just walk over that little bridge into the golden field of corn – utterly gorgeous!


The Reiff Collection is on show at The Beecroft, Southend on Sea until 30th October:

see Southend Museums for further details.