Fillongley

St Mary and All Saints Church, Fillongley Church Lane, Fillongley, Coventry, CV7 8EW fillongleychurch.wordpress.com

Church opening times
Fridays and Saturdays 11am-4pm
Sundays 12n-4pm

Events at St Mary and All Saints Church, Fillongley  

Estelle Robinson    PASTELS     Fri 3rd Sat 4th & Sun 5th Sept

As an Artist, I am inspired by colour, expression, good light or anything that catches my eye with the challenge being to create the perfect tones and shadows, I love contrast.

Art is a hobby for me and a mile away from my day job but it is a significant hobby.  In the early days pencil was my medium of choice but I now paint mostly in pastel.  It was the discovery of textured pastel papers that was a revelation, for me they turn pastels into a versatile and forgiving medium that affords bright and vibrant colours.  Using both sticks and pencils, I can build up in layers to achieve a sharp and detailed finished piece.      

Jayne Good    WET on  WET OILS      Fri 10th Sat 11th & Sun 12th Sept

Jayne Good is a certified Bob Ross Instructor and has been demonstrating and teaching this fascinating technique for 18 years.  Jayne primarily holds Joy of Painting workshops at her garden studio in Leicestershire but also travels across the country spreading the word of Bob Ross who said that anyone can paint this wet on wet oil technique.    www.paintingwithjayne.co.uk

Deborah Wood    ACRYLICS & COLOURED PENCILS      Fri 17th Sat 18th & Sun 19th Sept

Having taught Art for forty years in secondary school I developed a passion for working in Acrylics and Coloured Pencils.  Sometime I combine the two mediums to achieve greater details.  I enjoy doing studies of animals seascapes and landscapes as well as flowers and some commissions.  I usually spend between 4 and 10 hours on each piece and once finished I scan in the original and sell cards and prints.  After building up a collection of works I started to sell the original art work.      

Julie Hyde     WATERCLOURS       Fri 24th Sat 25th & Sun 27th Sept

Local Artist Julie Hyde will be showing some of her own work and demonstrating watercolour painting.  Julie is the founder of Centre of England Arts and has been running weekly classes in watercolours and drawing for many years.  She has had a lifelong passion for art and loves to show people how they can achieve their own masterpieces.  Julie says “Watercolours are the most difficult and frustrating media to use but if you learn to just go with it, you can create the most beautiful paintings”.       

Fri 1st Sat 2nd & Sun 3rd October

To be confirmed

Stories of Change: Hope, Faith and Love

Introduction
The Methodist Modern Art Collection is one of the Methodist Church’s greatest treasures. This outstanding collection of Christian art has particular strengths in British 20th-century Modern artists including works by Edward Burra, Elisabeth Frink, Patrick Heron, Ceri Richards, Graham Sutherland and William Roberts. The Collection has continued to grow, since its foundation in the 1960s, with innovative acquisitions from the 1990s onwards.

Just as John Wesley, who inspired the Methodist Movement, travelled around the country preaching, so the Methodist Modern Art Collection is not rooted in one place. From the beginning it was conceived as a travelling collection with strong educational links, and has been touring for many years to chapels, churches, cathedrals, museums, galleries and educational establishments, where it has inspired worship, enthused Mission, amazed visitors, and encouraged many supporters and enthusiasts. This unique Collection has recently undergone a programme of conservation and re-framing, to ensure it is preserved for future generations. This is the first time it has been seen by the public in over two years.

Re-launching the Collection during the City of Culture year in Coventry, and opening the Art Trail Stories of Change: Hope, Faith and Love with works on display in the Cathedral itself, set among outstanding masterpieces of 20th-century religious art, is particularly appropriate, as the Collection was begun in 1962, the year that the Cathedral was consecrated. Four works are hung at the Cathedral, all creating new dynamic dialogues between these paintings and the outstanding interior of the Cathedral with its related artworks. This is followed by a trail across the city, and beyond, enabling the exploration of the Collection in depth within the context of the communities who are hosting the trail, along with their responses to the works, at a time of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

An innovative Art Trail for CoventryStories of Change: Hope, Faith and Love
The Church of England’s post-war response to church artistic commissioning is well known; epitomised by the brilliant architecture and art commissioned by the architect Sir Basil Spence at Coventry Cathedral. The Methodist Church’s engagement with post-war British religious art is less well known and, historically, art commissioning has not been at the forefront of non-conformist church activities. The unique story of the formation of the Methodist Modern Art Collection, from its foundation in 1962, is told in this trail, demonstrating how it has grown to include more artists from other parts of the world, to reflect multicultural Britain. Today it also plays a role in post-Covid recovery, offering moments of contemplation and healing.

For nearly 60 years these works have surprised, delighted and enthused many hundreds of thousands of people who have seen and appreciated them in churches, cathedrals and art galleries across the UK. We hope, here in Coventry, visitors will take the opportunity to engage with these works anew and follow the trail from the Cathedral, to Methodist Central Hall and onwards to Earlsdon Methodist Church, Balsall Common Methodist Church and Saint Mary and All Saints Church at Fillongley (a longstanding and successful example of a Local Ecumenical Partnership between the local Anglican and the Methodist churches). In all of these venues we hope they discover more about these significant paintings and their message of hope, faith and love.

This Art Trail provides information about the works that can be found at each location and how the local community responded to these, as well as explaining how to navigate the trail from the city centre out into the delightful villages nearby. A printed leaflet will be available at each of the venues.

The artists represented in the Collection may have been war artists like Graham Sutherland, or refugees like Ralph Beyer, or brought up during World War 2 on the Home Front like Elisabeth Frink. For those artists who experienced war directly, whether serving or on the Home Front, many found solace in representing Christian themes in the post-war recovery years.

During our time of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, we can draw parallels with the post-war years of recovery and re-building, for which Coventry is so well known. The impacts of the pandemic are felt in many different ways and the Collection has real potential to provide space for moments of healing and contemplation this autumn.

All the venues will have a naturally 'hushed' atmosphere to allow visitors space to reflect quietly on the works displayed. Some venues may also offer further support and activities, such as the Prayer Stations at Earlsdon Methodist Church. There will also be opportunities to engage with therapeutic arts-based activities responding to the works and informative lectures and talks, shedding new light on, and interpretations of, key paintings.

For further information on these activities please visit: www.methodist.org.uk/cityofculture

Each time the Collection is loaned, the different communities who host it develop new dialogues with the artworks. Prior to borrowing paintings for this Art Trail, local churches around Coventry and Nuneaton encouraged congregations and their leaders to contemplate these works in imaginative ways, often during lockdowns. They had detailed discussions, using them to inspire prayer. This Art Trail now includes their many of their dynamic responses, creating new dialogues for the City of Culture.

Artists in residence at Methodist Central Hall: poet Emilie Lauren Jones, community artist Nikki Bovis-Coulter and digital artist Emily Tyler have all responded to the Collection and their work is also on view at Central Hall. Emilie’s poems are included in this Art Trail information.

The Revd Stephen Willey, Minister at Central Hall commented: “It is exciting to see our mission to nurture and celebrate faith, hope and love coming to life in Coventry this year through these artists.”

History of the Collection
This unique Collection began in the early 1960s as the inspired initiative of Dr John Morel Gibbs (1912–96). Gibbs was a Methodist layman who came from a wealthy Penarth shipping family in south Wales. His father, Major John Angel Gibbs, died in action in World War 1. John Morel Gibbs was very much raised in the shadow of war and, after taking a law degree at Cambridge, followed by a PhD in child psychology, became a conscientious objector in World War 2. He went on to become Vice President of the Methodist Church in 1959. By the 1960s Gibbs had concluded that the Methodist Church had failed to engage with contemporary high-quality religious art, which could make a genuine contribution to the life of the Church. He determined to rectify the situation.

Working with the local Methodist minister in Penarth, the Revd Douglas Wollen (1909-1998), who wrote as an art critic for publications including The Times and The Methodist Recorder, Gibbs acquired some outstanding examples of British 20th-century art. These were all chosen to illustrate aspects of the Gospel narrative, from the Nativity to Pentecost.

Some acquisitions were by established artists, such as William Roberts or Graham Sutherland, others were by relatively unknown artists just at the beginning of their careers. Wollen and Gibbs visited Bond Street galleries when they were in London for Methodist meetings to view potential acquisitions, and sometimes bought directly from artists after studio visits, occasionally commissioning works, or buying at auction. The 1960s were a time of energy and optimism, as well as recovery from World War 2, and the initial purchases echo the social and creative developments of the decade. There is a strong Welsh flavour to a number of early acquisitions, reflecting the fact that the original founders were based in south Wales, with works by Ceri Richards, Euryl Stevens and Michael Edmonds (based in Penarth at the time). From the outset there was a genuine desire to reflect innovative approaches to subjects and to look beyond European traditions. One of the first paintings to be acquired was by Francis Newton Souza, an Indian artist of international fame, living in London at the time.

The first works were purchased in 1962, ahead of a hugely ambitious touring exhibition which ran from July 1963-September 1965 and was entitled The Church and the Artist, with new works joining as they were acquired. It was shown across the country including at major galleries such as Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Walker in Liverpool, Manchester City Art Gallery, the Laing in Newcastle, the Graves in Sheffield, and Turner House in Penarth, part of the National Museum of Wales at the time. The tour included one school, Kingswood in Bath, one college, Southlands in London and just one cathedral, in Portsmouth. Overall 107,000 people saw the Collection at 30 venues. The exhibition was received enthusiastically by the public, and local and religious press, but barely picked up by the art press. There were just seven mentions in national newspapers, and while there was brief coverage by the BBC with a programme Seeing and Believing, aired in January 1964, overall the reception was muted in contrast to the more controversial response to the opening of Coventry Cathedral.

After the first exhibition tour, the Collection was housed at Kingswood School in Bath, where it was administered by the then Methodist Education Committee. From the early 1970s, it was distributed between a number of Methodist schools, before being reunited again at Southlands Teacher Training College in the late 1970s. Eventually, after a conservation programme, the Collection was relaunched in the 1990s as a touring exhibition once more. Appropriately, the first exhibition was at the Turner House Gallery in Penarth. Exhibitions then continued from 1992, when it was shown at St Giles in Oxford, and in 1993 at The Maltings in Farnham, Surrey and Winchester Cathedral. The Collection began to grow once more with the commission of the Adams watercolour Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, in 1991, currently on display at Earlsdon Methodist Church.

There was a general revival of interest in British 20th-century art in the 1990s, when a national poll elected Coventry Cathedral as the nation’s favourite 20th-century building, embraced by the public as a symbol of reconciliation and peace. Works such as Patrick Heron’s Crucifix and Candles: Night 1950 were acquired and, in 1997, a new working group was set up by the Methodist Church to manage the Collection, chaired by John Newton Gibbs, son of the original founder. He recognised the potential power of the Collection to support Mission and provided inspired leadership for the next 20 years. This group oversaw further expansion of the Collection in the 2000s, particularly with works by women artists such as Susie Hamilton, Ghislaine Howard and Maggi Hambling, as well as more works by international artists.

The resulting Collection of over 50 works continues to grow and still, on occasion, reflects its Welsh roots. In 2011 a work was commissioned by Clive Hicks-Jenkins, who was born in Newport in 1951. Work is also still donated, for example, Crucifixion, a watercolour by Michael Edmonds, was acquired in 2015. During the period 2016-2018, the Collection was seen by nearly 80 thousand visitors.

The Management Committee is committed to curating exhibitions which are relevant and contemporary for our audiences. Exhibitions which address issues such as peace and reconciliation; the current refugee crisis and the affirmation of Dalit people, embracing equality, diversity and inclusion whenever possible. In this trail the artworks also reflect the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and ensure a role in the healing process.

Taking the Art Trail:
We suggest that you park at Memorial Park in Coventry, then walk to the city centre or use the Park and Ride bus to the Cathedral. Coventry train station is close to the city centre.

Start by visiting Coventry Cathedral itself, it is then a short walk to Central Hall. Earlsdon Methodist Church is also within walking distance.

To continue the trail you will need to drive or take the train to Balsall Common (alight at Berkswell Station, and walk west for 500 yards to the church).

Fillongley can be reached either by car, or by bus from Pool Meadow Bus Station in Coventry City Centre – the 735 operated by Coventry Minibuses runs daily.

Further reading
Sarah Middleton The Methodist Modern Art Collection in Wales https://www.methodist.org.uk/media/2529/mmac-bilingual-booklet-0315.pdf

Roger Wollen Catalogue of the Methodist Church Collection of Modern Christian Art, 1988

Roger Wollen Seeing the Spiritual – A Guide to the Methodist Modern Art Collection
with introductory contributions by Richard Cork, Graham Kent and Ann Sumner, 2018

St Mary and All Saints Church, Fillongley

The ancient parish church of St Mary and All Saints dates from the 12th century and is a successful example of a Local Ecumenical Partnership (LEP) between the Anglican and the Methodist churches, which has run for over 40 years. The mission statement of the church is ‘Anglicans and Methodists in unity’.

It is Grade II* listed and referenced in Nicholas Pevsner’s Warwickshire volume. Parts of the chancel are 12th century, with a 19th-century roof. The nave is 14th century with a 15th-century Lady Chapel, and the 13th-century west tower has a 15th-century bell stage and eight bells. The walls are attractive coursed sandstone rubble and squared sandstone with examples of 14th-century stained glass.

On display in this historic setting are five key works selected from the Methodist Modern Art Collection. The works reflect how the Collection was formed and developed – with three early acquisitions from the 1960s by Eularia Clarke and Francis Hoyland, shortly after the consecration of Coventry Cathedral, and one key work by Patrick Heron representing how the Collection expanded in the 1990s. There is also a more recent example of an acquisition of 2010 by a woman artist, Susie Hamilton, with a work dating from the 1990s.

 

Francis Hoyland Crucifixion polyptych, oil on board, 1962

The title references the Early Renaissance altarpieces in churches which inspired Hoyland on an early study visit to Italy. The word ‘polyptych’ usually means an artwork made up of more than three panels. The panels are usually hinged together and made up of a central larger panel, side panels and a lower panel (predella), often forming a significant altarpiece and providing a framework for narrative depictions. Hoyland brings all the ‘panels’ together on one canvas and interprets the biblical texts in modern settings.

In the centre is the Crucifixion section, with an emaciated elongated figure of Christ on the cross, set in a modern English landscape with grass and trees. St John is on the left and Mary on the right. Below, in descending order in the central panels, are scenes of the Last Supper, Jesus praying on the Mount of Olives, Judas betraying Jesus, and the Entombment, with Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus.

On the right side the Good Samaritan story is told in the panels. In descending order, the traveller is mugged and left for dead; a priest and another (the Levite) pass by, but the Samaritan helps and calls a modern ambulance for assistance.

In the left panels the Prodigal Son story is told in sections. In descending order, the son leaves home; sexual gratification is followed by penitence; he returns home (by bicycle) to reconciliation and a homecoming meal; finally, a further reconciliation, or perhaps the father and his other son. (Matthew 27:35-36, 38-39; John 19:25-27; Luke 10:30-35; Luke 15:11-32).

Hoyland may have been inspired by Chagall’s White Crucifixion of 1938 in the Art Institute, Chicago which draws on contemporary life to illustrate Biblical stories. The story of the Good Samaritan in particular has resonance following the lockdowns of the pandemic where the kindness of strangers beyond our immediate communities was particularly inspiring.

For further information about the artist see his other works displayed as part of this Art Trail, both at this venue and at Balsall Common Methodist Church.

 

Francis Hoyland Holy Communion predella, oil on board, 1961

In Renaissance altarpieces, the lower panel of a polyptych – a series of panels hinged together with one larger central image – is usually known as a predella. It is often long and thin; made up of a series of subsidiary scenes, as here. Hoyland references his interest in Renaissance altarpieces in the title of this work and its elongated landscape shape.

The central image shows a priest celebrating Communion in a Gloucester church. The image on the far left shows the birth of Hoyland’s youngest son at his home, with the midwife and the father standing in front of a cot. The second image from the left shows the baptism of his eldest son in the same Gloucester church. The second scene from the right shows the Hoyland family eating an al fresco tea ; while the right-hand scene takes the personal odyssey from birth to death with the artist’s father, John Hoyland, a well-known Quaker leader and writer, on his death bed at home, attended by his son, other family members and a nurse.

Members of the congregation felt that the two Hoylands reflected Renaissance art in their ancient church, as well as the relevance of their LEP partnership with the local Anglican church in a modern contemporary village.

For further information about the artist see his other works displayed as part of this Art Trail, both at this venue and at Balsall Common Methodist Church.

 

Eularia Clarke Storm over the Lake, oil on canvas, 1963

Clarke shows Jesus leaning forward, bringing order and calming the storm, rebuking the wind and the raging waves, as described in Luke 8:22-25. The scene is terrifying: the boat is in extreme danger of capsizing, with several people already swept overboard and near to death. The crew have had the presence of mind to reef the sail when the storm arose. The blue, black and white cushion (looking more like a travelling rug) on which, according to Mark’s Gospel (Mark 4:35-41) Jesus was sleeping, is portrayed in the stern of the vessel.

Clarke said of the work that her depiction of drowning people came from watching a film of 1952 based on Nicholas Monsarrat’s novel The Cruel Sea. She portrays desperate people clutching at ropes and parts of the ship, but the main focus for her is the figure of Christ. She wrote, “I keep praying, ‘This is meant to be your Son, don’t let him look like just any ordinary human.’ I wouldn’t be dragged all that way to Mass by a man who just lived and taught a long time ago.”

This work and the Five Thousand (on display as part of this Art Trail at Earlsdon Methodist Church) attracted a number of private buyers, but Clarke wanted them to go to a religious organisation or public institution. This work was actually on loan to a Catholic priest in 1965 when Clarke sold it to Wollen for the Collection. She described how he “does his meditation from it and uses it for sermons” but, after some consideration, she asked for its return so that it could enter the Methodist Collection.

Observers of this work today are often reminded of the harrowing television images of refugees fighting for their lives as they try to reach European shores in unsuitable boats. The following poem was written by a member at Balsall Common Methodist Church and was used in worship on Refugee Sunday in late June 2021, as the congregation responded to the global refugee crisis:

 

Storm over the Lake

The lake is clear like pure glass
rippling with pale blues and greens
As we listen to the cooing of doves
the sails begin to rustle in the breeze
Swerving waters batter the boat’s sides
and flood the deck. I look around
at faces, ghosted with fear. Whaling waves
cough up plastic bags and cups bound
for dolphins’ stomachs. Infants cling to frayed
ropes of love and sustenance. Refugees
are tossed and turned with nowhere to stay
Jesus is imaged in each of these fearful faces
Can He, with us, calm the storms of inequality
and greed, for the well-being of all humanity?

 

Patrick Heron Crucifix and Candles: Night 1950, oil on canvas, 1950

Image not available due to copyright restrictions.

The central image is a large crucifix with a linear figure of Christ, set between a pair of burning candles on a table or altar, in front of an open window. This unusual composition was inspired by Heron’s study of Titian’s The Vendramin Family in the National Gallery, a portrait of two brothers, Gabriel and Andrea Vendramin, and Andrea’s seven young sons. The family is gathered around an altar upon which a crucifix and a pair of flickering candles are situated. The crucifix on that altarpiece is a particularly important reliquary, containing a fragment of the true cross, which had been rescued by a member of the family when in danger of falling into a canal.

Heron focused on this detail of the painting and transforms the motifs into an interior by an open latticed window, during a period when he was painting a series of still life scenes such as Crambe vicarage: Night 1949 which is clearly related, with an oil lamp and candlesticks. These works date from just before his first abstract experiments in the mid-1950s. Heron himself said that he was “not a member of any church” and, specifically, that this painting “was made as a result of a purely pictorial experience only”.

Born in Leeds in 1920 Heron grew up in Cornwall in an artistic family, his father being the founder of Cresta Silks, who commissioned leading artists such as Cedric Morris and Paul Nash to design for him. Heron trained at the Slade School of Art but World War 2 interrupted his studies. Registered as a conscientious objector, Heron worked as an agricultural labourer in Cambridgeshire before he was signed off for ill health He then returned to Cornwall to work for Bernard Leach at the Leach Pottery, St Ives, until the end of the War. He returned to Cornwall permanently in 1956 and for the final forty years of his career produced impressive abstract paintings.

Heron was an exceptional figure in British 20th-century art, both as an accomplished painter and as a critic. It has only been on rare occasions that works have been acquired for the Collection through auction, generally when key works have emerged on the market, as happened with the acquisition of Sutherland’s Deposition in 1963. This work was purchased by the Gibbs Charitable Trust at auction in London in March 1990, at a time when a revival of interest was taking place in the Methodist Church due to the conservation programme and Penarth exhibition.

 

Susie Hamilton Ecce Homo, acrylic on canvas, 1999

Ecce Homo is Latin for ‘Here is the man’ (or ‘Behold the man’ in some versions of the Bible – John 19:4-7). It has been an important subject in Christian art from the 9th century and, more recently, has been extended beyond representation of Jesus to the portrayal of suffering and the degradation of humans through violence and war.

This is a study for several much larger works by Hamilton and was acquired for the Collection in 2010. A lone figure stands with arms outstretched and the torso forms a vertical axis in the centre. The openness of the posture demonstrates vulnerability and acceptance, yet also the possibility of transcendence. The white figure set against the black background is composed of many thin layers of watery acrylic paint which have been poured, floated, and blown with a hairdryer to create a semi-transparent effect. This indicates both the material body and the immaterial spirit or soul.

Hamilton studied painting at St Martins School of Art and Byam Shaw School of Art in London before reading English Literature at Birkbeck, University of London where she gained a Ph.D.

During lockdown her work has featured in the art press with her Covid-19 series. This began when she was contacted by consultant hepatologist and art collector, Peter Collins, who sent photos from his Bristol hospital and she sourced more from documentaries and TV news. These impressive works have intentional references to 16th-century plague doctors, suggested by some of the apparently beaked and gowned figures in full PPE, combined with a futuristic element, with doctors appearing like figures from science fiction, like angelic beings, even slightly predatory.

She also frequently references historic art. One painting of three doctors bending over a patient is based on Guido Reni’s The Adoration of the Shepherds (around 1640) in the National Gallery “where there is light pouring from the centre”. As an artist who has directly responded to the healthcare crisis, and is represented in the Methodist Modern Art Collection, the community at Fillongley were keen to see her work represented and to talk to her about her experiences recording the front line in the NHS. For anyone who visited hospitals during this period her works are fascinating.

 

Images above from the Methodist Modern Art Collection © TMCP, used with permission. www.methodist.org.uk/artcollection
The Methodist Church. Registered Charity no. 1132208


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