Thursday, 18 June 2009

"Music is an emanation from heaven"

The Avison Society continues its year of celebration with a special concert. Details below from their press release.


A Triple Anniversary Celebration!

THURSDAY July 9th at 7.30pm
St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne

The Avison Ensemble presents this special event at St Mary's Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne, as part of the Avison tercentenary celebrations.

James Bowman (Counter tenor) and Dr Andrew Gant (Organist, Choirmaster and Composer at Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal) and other members of the Chapel Royal Choir with the Avison Ensemble perform anthems by Handel and Purcell that were written specially for the Chapel Royal. The programme includes an anthem by Charles Avison, previously unheard in modern times due to a missing part, which has been composed by Andrew Gant, especially to complete the work for this performance.

2009 celebrates the tercentenary of the birth of Newcastle-born composer, Charles Avison in 1709 and the City is in celebration of the occasion! This year also marks the 250th anniversary of the death of Handel in 1759 and the 350th anniversary of the birth of Purcell in 1659.

This concert is a triple celebration of 3 of the most important composers of the baroque period.

Gordon Dixon, CEO of the Avison Ensemble said: “2009 is a unique celebration. Two of England’s most important composers of choral music share an anniversary with Avison who, though he worked in the Cathedral at Newcastle most of his life, wrote only one anthem. It is a great opportunity to bring this interesting piece back into use.”

The Chapel Royal has been in existence since before the Norman Conquest, and in its early years its function was mainly peripatetic, accompanying the Monarch around the country and indeed beyond: the Chapel Royal went with Henry V to Agincourt, where Mass was sung before the battle, and with Henry VIII to the Field of the Cloth of Gold. In Tudor times it played a major role in enhancing the splendour and magnificence of the court and The King, and in addition to their musical duties the Children were required to act in plays, masques and pageants to impress important visitors.

The Chapel had a unique role in the development of English church music, partly because it had the power to "impress" the best choristers from around the country, and partly because as the Monarch's private Chapel it was, to a certain extent at least, immune from the severe restrictions placed on the composition and use of music by the various religious reforms of the 16th and 17th centuries. It thus employed many leading musicians, including Cornyshe, Fayrfax, Tallis, Byrd, Gibbons, Blow, Purcell, Handel, S.S.Wesley and Arthur Sullivan.

Made up of some of Europe’s leading musicians and soloists, The Avison Ensemble is the North East’s most famous exponent of 18th century music as well as being the standard bearer for Charles Avison. A composer, conductor, organist and writer of music, Avison is considered by many to be the most important English concerto composer of that period.

The Ensemble uses period instruments to recreate the distinctive ‘sound world’ that Avison would have known. The Avison Ensemble is a Regularly Funded Organisation by Arts Council England.

Tickets: £12 from JG Windows Ltd, Central Arcade, Newcastle upon Tyne."

Click here to go to their website for full details and other events.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Carrie Ackroyd

Carrie Ackroyd will be talking about her work to The Friends of the Hatton Gallery on Tuesday 16th June at 6.30 in the Hatton Gallery.

"The FOTH’s next talk will attract those interested in watercolour, prints, linocut, engraving, book-illustration, ecology and the preservation of the landscape. It is by Carry Akroyd, painter, printmaker, illustrator, resident of rural East Northamptonshire and member of the Society of Wildlife Artists."

"Those familiar with John Clare’s poetry will know her illustrations of The Shepherd’s Calendar (2006) and The Wood is Sweet (2005). Or if you have seen The Great Fen (2006), you will have found her paintings which derive from and represent, but do not slavishly depict, the natural world. Like Clare, whom she greatly admires, she wishes to depict and deplore the changes in the landscape while recognizing both the beauty and the necessity of change. You might have seen her latest exhibition at the Byard Gallery in Cambridge. In any case you can get a preview of her work at"

Illustration is "Blackbird" from John Clare The Wood is Sweet

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Cutting Edge

Those of you missed the Society of Wood Engravers exhibition at Northern Print in Newcastle have one more chance to see the show at Art Jericho in Oxford from 27th May to 27th June.

Click here to see details on the Art Jericho website.

Click here for the Society of Wood Engravers website.

"This is the 71st annual exhibition, and the 25th since the re-founding of the SWE.

A wide range of original prints in limited editions is on show, in which ancient techniques are deployed by modern artists, to create beautiful images - some dramatic, some witty, all stylish. Some of the foremost practitioners are currently exhibiting"

The show is previewed by the Oxford Times here.

Art Jericho have a number of prints by Thomas Bewick listed for sale.
"the 5 engravings at Art Jericho were printed (with considerable difficulties!) from his blocks by the Charlotte Press in 1970."
Click here for the gallery details.

Illustrated is Red Kite by Ian Stephens.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Bewick Renatured

Artist Marina Zurkow recently visited the archive of The Natural History Society of Northumbria. You can read her account of the visit on her website "Renatured." Included is this photograph of Archivist June Holmes with The Natural History Society of Northumbria's Bewick collection.

"RENATURED is a storage tank for thinking about the relationships between earthlings and their ecologies: between human and non-human animals, and those in between. Digging into the ways we live with nature and without it, and sampling from the internet ecosystem."

Click here to go to "Renatured."

Friday, 5 June 2009

New City Library

Two dates for the diary:

The New City Library opens its doors with a grand opening on Sunday 7 June at 11am.
You can read about the planned events and the new building here.

The new facilities include Bewick Hall:
"On the Princess Square level we have a superb new cafĂ© run by Stewart and Co. from Jesmond (with additional outdoor seating on the redeveloped Princess Square), express email facilities, meeting rooms and the Bewick Hall – a performance space that can seat up to 185 people. There will also be superb display and exhibition facilities."

Hidden treasures from the library will go on display on Sunday, 21 June. Included will be items from the Bewick Collection amassed by John William Pease.

"Visitors to Newcastle’s new City Library will soon get the opportunity to see some of the city’s hidden treasures when they will be displayed for the first time to the public.
The treasures are part of the Newcastle Collection and include samples of work and artefacts from historical names like Thomas Bewick, Richard Collinson and the Crawhall family.
Pieces including Thomas Bewick’s work table, tools and blocks will be on view in a special climate controlled viewing room on the library’s Level 6

Click here for more information: Hidden Treasures to be Displayed at Library.
You can find information on the Pease Bequest and other collections at

There's a short video showing the printing of a Bewick block included on their updated site.
Click here to watch the video: A Wood Block in Use

You can also play Bewick Spot the Difference.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Upcoming at the Laing Art Gallery.

The Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle will host the much-praised "Tale-pieces" exhibition. They have sent us this information:

"Thomas Bewick: Tale-Pieces
4 July – 18 October 2009

An exhibition of engravings by the North-East born artist Thomas Bewick.
The exhibition focuses on Bewick's 'tail-pieces' - small illustrations for a number of 18th century publications. These are complemented by some of Bewick's woodblocks and more prints from the Laing’s collection.

Born in Cherryburn, near Mickley, Northumberland in 1753, Bewick worked in Newcastle until his death in 1828. Clearly influenced by his childhood on a small farm on the banks of the river Tyne, Bewick’s love of the countryside is reflected in his detailed woodcuts of animals, birds and rural scenes.

Free entry. "