TALK: Writing the Voice with Author Barney Norris

Sunday 15 July, 11:30 – 12:30pm  Bookings

In conversation with Chloe Fox (journalist and author), local success story, author and playwright Barney will be talking about writing voices for the stage and the page. Drawing on readings from his latest novel, Turning for Home and performances from his breakout play, Nightfall (part of Nicholas Hytner’s summer season at the Bridge Theatre, London), Barney will explain, illustrate and ellucidate how phrases and words can be sculpted and conveyed.

‘Everything he writes about love, loss, grief, desolation and moments of hope and illumination rings absolutely true’ writes Michael Frayn

TALK: with sculptor Laurence Edwards

Saturday 16 June, 11am  Bookings

Following his successful Australian shows, sculptor Laurence Edwards joins us at the Barn to discuss his latest project, a large commission celebrating the mining culture of Doncaster, sadly now part of the town’s recent past.

Once a month Laurence visits the town and carves palm-sized portrait heads in wax of local volunteers from the mining community. The sculpting is done from life and the event is live-streamed by film students and archived on Youtube. During the two hour process, each sitter tells their own unique story whilst Laurence sculpts making for a fascinating insight in to our country’s recent industrial and social history.

In Lawrence’s words, “this all came out of a conversation with my son, who told me Rodin went to Calais to model the citizenry in preparation for the Burghers of Calais commission. This I thought was a lovely idea and a great way to get to know the community, and so it has proved.”

Laurence is one of the artist’s exhibiting in our ‘Revelation of the Head’ show opening 26 May and these works will be in the Barn gallery.


TALK: Professor Simon Olding in conversation with Sculptor Tim Harrisson

Saturday 21 April 2018, 11am    Bookings

Professor Simon Olding joins us in conversation with sculptor Tim Harrisson to discuss his work, practice and new solo exhibition ‘AS IT WAS IS NOW’ here at Messums Wiltshire.  The pair are long-term colleagues and friends having known each other since Simon worked as museum director at Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth.  Simon commissioned Tim to make the sculpture ‘Horizon’ (pictured) for the museum’s garden which was completed in 1995 and has followed Tim’s exhibitions and developments ever since.

Tim Harrisson has a continued interest in minimalism, landscape and history. He works with the great variety of stone that the British Isles has to offer including locally quarried Chicksgrove limestone and Portland stone.  His much anticipated second sculpture exhibition here at the Barn Gallery is complimented by two-dimensional works on view in the Long Gallery.

Harrisson was born in Essex in 1952 and studied at Hammersmith College of Art (1969-79), Norwich Art School (1970-73) and Byam Shaw School of Fine Art (1975). Harrisson was Sculptor in Residence at the Red House Museum, Christchurch. He has exhibited widely since 1981 and undertaken a number of important commissions. In 2013 the British Museum acquired a selection of his works on paper. Harrisson was elected to the Royal West of England Academy in 2013. He lives and works in Wiltshire.

Professor Simon Olding

Professor Simon Olding leads the MRes Crafts course and is Director of the Crafts Study Centre at UCA Farnham. He’s also Professor of Contemporary Crafts at UCA. Simon has held many senior roles in museums, galleries and art organisations since 1979.

Simon joined the University for the Creative Arts in the year 2002 as Director of the Crafts Study Centre, the university museum of modern craft. He joined the professoriate in 2004 as Professor of Modern Crafts. He leads the MRes Crafts degree and supports the theory and analysis unit for the MA Craft and Design students.

His previous career includes working as a specialist ceramics curator, as a museum director (Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth) as well as periods in agency and advisory work (London Museums Officer and Assistant Director, Area Museums Service for South Eastern England) and as Director of Policy and Research for the Heritage Lottery Fund. After graduating from Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, he received his PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 1980.

TALK & BOOK LAUNCH: with Author Professor Caroline Dakers ‘Fonthill Recovered – A Cultural History’


Friday 18 May, 6:30pm  Bookings

On Friday 18 May, Caroline Dakers, Professor of Cultural History at Central Saint Martins (University of Arts London) will join us to launch her new book ‘Fonthill Recovered – A Cultural History’ and discuss the legacy of William Beckford’s estate.  Messums Wiltshire was once itself owned by Beckford as part of the Fonthill estate.

Situated less than a mile away from the gallery, the writer and collector William Beckford built his Gothic fantasy house Fonthill Abbey at the end of the eighteenth century. The collapse of the Abbey’s tower in 1825 transformed the name Fonthill into a symbol for overarching ambition and folly.  However Beckford’s Abbey is only one of several important houses to be built on the estate since the early sixteenth century.

Caroline’s recent books include a new edition of Forever England (2016). She has also curated exhibitions at Leighton House Museum, London such as ‘George Aitchison: Leighton’s Architect Revealed’ (2012) and ‘Artists at Home: The Holland Park Circle’ (1999-2000).

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