John Piper's Brighton Aquatints (1939) and their multiple meaning
John Small lecture 2017 given by Dr Alan Powers
(This lecture followed the Regency Society Annual General Meeting)
A month into the Second World War, a remarkable limited edition book was published: Brighton Aquatints by John Piper, a collection of twelve prints, with the artist's commentaries and a foreword by the 1890s relic: Lord Alfred Douglas. It was a book of elegiac memory, a reconceptualisation of the potential of modern art to engage with place and history, and also a muted alarm call regarding threats to the historic fabric of the town.
This rarely-seen book, arguably Piper's finest printmaking effort, is being republished by the Mainstone Press with a contextual and bibliographic commentary by Alan Powers; there will be an accompanying display in Brighton Museum in September 2017.
Dr Alan Powers is an art historian specialising in mid twentieth century British art, architecture and design. He has published widely on this theme, including monographs on Edward Ardizzone (2016), Eric Ravilious (2013) and Serge Chernayeff (2001). He teaches for New York University in London and the London School of Architecture. He teaches a Summer School course for the Courtauld Institute Public Programmes on Emigrés and leads tours for ACE Cultural Tours. Dr Powers is a former Chair of the Twentieth Century Society and is actively involved in the conservation of buildings.
Nick Tyson explains why we should all be worried at the scandalous state of this unique heritage asset, and why the Council and Historic England must intervene
Marlborough House in the Old Steine in Brighton is often referred to as the second most important historic property in the city, after the Royal Pavilion. Built in the 1760s for Sam Shergold, the keeper of the local 'Castle Inn', the House was purchased in the 1780s by William Gerard Hamilton MP and shortly after this became the subject of architectural improvements by the renowned Scottish architect, Robert Adam.
...continue reading "More damage to Marlborough House"
We’ve written before about the Council’s plan to create a new conference and events centre at Black Rock. They intend it to replace the Brighton Centre. We are aware that this has the potential to make major changes in our city and we are keen to know how this is progressing.
...continue reading "The latest (or lack of it) on the Waterfront Project"
The Regency Society was broadly supportive of the first iteration of the Draft City Plan (City Plan Part 1). In particular the Society has supported the proposal, as set out in Section DA7 of the City Plan, to designate the area of land known as Toad’s Hole Valley for mixed use with a predominance of housing. Toad’s Hole Valley, it should be noted, is a triangular area of scrub-land with a gross area of 47 hectares that is bounded by the A27 by-pass and King George VI Avenue. ...continue reading "Toad’s Hole Valley Supplementary Planning Document"
Sir Simon Jenkins, journalist, broadcaster and author, former editor of the Times and the London Evening Standard and campaigner for historic buildings is our current President. On 8 March he entertained a full Music Room at the Royal Pavilion at our Antony Dale lecture for 2017 on bringing old houses back to life. ...continue reading "Bringing the Music Room to life for an evening"
reflections on a 70 year relationship between the Royal Pavilion and the Regency Society
Brighton and Hove City Council has decided to set up a new Cultural Trust to run the Brighton Pavilion and Museums. The Council will continue to own the Pavilion and Museums but is setting up the Trust to manage it.
The main reason is to create new funding avenues: a trust will be able to raise money in ways the Council cannot. Work on setting up the Trust is starting now with the appointment of a temporary board which will include councillors. A transition year to the permanent new Trust will begin in April next year. In April 2019 the transition will be complete and a new board will take over. All existing staff will be transferred in on their current terms and conditions. ...continue reading "A new future for the Royal Pavilion"
Brighton and Hove City Council has approved an application for a development on the site of Court Farm, which lies to the North East of Toads Hole Valley, where a larger development is planned. Court Farm lies close to the roundabout at the top of George VI Avenue. ...continue reading "Court Farm"
RS committee member Delia Forester considers the slow rate at which development is moving, and weighs up the pros and cons.
...continue reading "Is Brighton and Hove grinding to a standstill?"
December 2016 update
We've written before about the Hyde Housing Association and its proposals for the site of the former Sackville Hotel. We've objected to a previous proposal for a 17 storey tower on this site.
Hyde Housing is now preparing to submit a new planning application for the site and they presented their revised proposals at a public exhibition at the end of November. They have appointed a new team of architects – HGP Architects from Fareham – and have conducted a number of consultative workshops with local residents. ...continue reading "Hyde Housing and the Sackville Hotel site"
The Brighton Old Town Conservation Area includes the medieval fishing town area bounded by North Street, West Street, East Street and the seafront.
The Old Town Conservation Area was first designated in 1973 and extended in 1977. Somewhat surprisingly a Character Statement for the area has never been produced by the council. The Old Town was recently included on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register. Their reasons include vacant historic landmark buildings, the weight of traffic on Kings Road (which creates a barrier to the seafront) and poorly designed shop fronts. ...continue reading "Old Town Conservation Area Character Statement"