Purton Artists Society history
In 1979 Eddie Godrich, an art teacher at Bradon Forest School, held a one-man exhibition. The following year he invited a few friends to exhibit with him, Andy Le Poidevin, Gwen Thom, Lance Canning, Leslie Holland and Arthur Wheeler. The exhibition was very successful so another was arranged for the second year which was also very popular and aroused interest through the village and beyond. A condition made by Eddie Godrich that exhibiting artists must live in the village excluded artist Gwen Thom when she moved to Wootton Bassett and also fell on Eddie himself when he moved to Wales.
In 1981 the group decided to open the exhibition to all artists in Purton subject to being accepted by the newly formed committee. Along with the above artists the founder members included artists Barbara Gosden (secretary), Woodturner; Basil Marchant (Chairman), and painter and wood craftsman; Nelson Woolford, whose wife Barbara acted as the treasurer. This small group met at the George and used the Old Gallery in the library to put on a two-week exhibition.
Thereby Purton Artists Society was established. Its aim is to encourage the appreciation of art and craft in the village of Purton and to exhibit annually the works of its members. When funds permit Purton Artists Society makes a donation to a good cause; to name few – Age Concern, Helping Hands, the Church Bell fund, Silver Threads.
The first official records date back to 1985 by which time the membership had grown to 15, new members were: Jill Bradley, David Pearce, Barbara Timpson, Theresa Reilly, Bryan Rigg, and Liz Hopley. In that year the exhibition took place in the Library museum where there were 550 visitors and 32 paintings sold.
At this point the Society was exhibiting in both the Spring and Autumn. The process of the artists nominating two pieces to be hung in more favourable positions was introduced. On this occasion the spring exhibition made a loss though. It was also observed that the membership numbers were dwindling; 22 in 1995, 23 in 1996, down to only 19 members in 1998.
Brian Coe was proposed and accepted to be the new Publicity Secretary.
It was decided that a retrospective of the late Arthur Wheeler be exhibited at the Autumn exhibition.
Membership now stood at 24. Two resignations from the committee, Margaret Belt as Treasurer and Gwen Farrar as Secretary.
Leslie Holland was congratulated on his painting for St. Mary’s Church, Purton; this came about due to the unfortunate theft of an original artwork depicting the Last Supper from the church in 1994 (Painted by the Flemish artist Jacob Jordeans in 1655). The painting was subsequently recovered in a police ‘sting’ in Florida, USA and then returned to Purton – this itself is an interesting story and much has been documented about this. Dougie Payne, John Soar and Alex Rerie were invited to exhibit at the exhibition as Lydiard guests.
Sadly, two of our members passed away over the Christmas period. Both Nelson Woolford and Joan Saunders are greatly missed. Nelson was a founder member and along with Barbara never failed to fully support an exhibition.
The original rules were changed whereby you could now live or work in Purton to become a member, and where a person has been a longstanding member (at least 5 years) they may retain full membership if they move or cease to be employed in the village of Purton.
Exhibitions were now taking place in the Village Hall. Pupils from Bradon Forest School to put on their own small exhibition in the foyer. Membership meetings were now taking place in the Red House.
A tribute to Nelson Woolford, Joan Saunders and Ron Gunter took place at this year’s exhibition (Ron had sadly died just before this year’s AGM). Eddie Godrich, now in his 80th year, was made an honorary member. Barbara Woolford was also made an honorary member for her longstanding contribution to the society.
An update of the History of Purton Artists was to be written for inclusion in the Purton Magazine in the autumn. Members provided the front cover for Purton magazine.
On the 21st anniversary of the exhibition, Andy Le Poidevin provided a historical report on Purton Artists for the parish magazine, the basis of the first part of this revised history. Barbara Woolford suggested that a table was specifically set aside for cards at the exhibition, something that still continues.
Membership now stood at 28. Catherine Pier stood down as Chairperson after 10 years in the role. Consequently, Andy Le Poidevin was proposed and accepted the role. Barbara Woolford accepted honorary membership.
It was decided to introduce a new role for the Society; President. Margaret Belt had always been a great help behind the scenes and as such was proposed and, gladly accepted the role. Basil Marchant was proposed as an honorary member. The Society now had two honorary members, Barbara Woolford and Basil Marchant and, one life member; Leslie Holland.
A small but important step for the Society, email addresses were now being routinely gathered from members. Also, for the first time, light refreshments were made available on the Friday preview evening of the exhibition to encourage more visitors. Doreen Freegard and Brian Davies
Four members contributed to the front cover of the Parish magazine and a painting used for this purpose from each member was to be sold at the exhibition in aid of that particular member’s nominated charity.
Our President, Margaret Belt lost her fight for life after a very serious illness. Margaret made a tremendous contribution to the Society over the years. On another sad note Eileen Bryan a former member of the Society has also passed away.
Basil Marchant was proposed and, accepted to be the new President.
This year was the 25th anniversary of the exhibition. It was agreed that up to 15 paintings per person were now allowed to be exhibited.
Basil Marchant resigned as the President of the Society and Barbara Woolford was proposed and, accepted to be the new President.
There had been a general downward trend in picture sales which had put funds under pressure as such there were some small changes in subscription for members and commission fees for sales at the exhibition. Otherwise, there was a welcome increase in the number of photographic exhibits.
David Sweet resigned as Treasurer. Catherine agreed to stand again as Secretary but focussing on the exhibition, so 2 more committee roles were added; this led to a number of changes to the committee overall. Catherine Pier was proposed and accepted the new role of Exhibition Secretary, Avril Ainscough was proposed and accepted the new role of Membership Secretary. Also, Jan Walker was proposed and accepted the role of Secretary, Barbara Gosden was proposed and accepted the role of Minute Secretary and finally, Chris Rawlings was proposed and accepted the role of Treasurer.
A retrospective display of Gwen Thom’s work was shown at the exhibition (She was no longer an active artist but resided once more in Purton).
Membership was now up to 36. Sadly though, Basil Marchant passed away this year.
A hanging fee of £1 per picture was introduced for this and future year’s exhibitions.
Andy Le Poidevin stood down as Chairman after 8 years in the post but remained as a committee member. Consequently, Cathy Hyland was proposed and accepted the role of Chairwoman. Also, Tracey Rapson was proposed and accepted the role of Secretary.
The number of displayed items in the exhibition had diminished slightly as a result of only 18 members exhibiting. The Society provided pictures for the front of the Purton magazine, to start before the exhibition and run into the following year.
At this point membership stood at 38.
Membership was opened up to artists who resided within a 5 miles radius of Purton and, to a maximum overall Society membership of 49 members; although restrictions were placed on the number of craft and photography based exhibitors. This was the first time since the formation of the society that artists outside the Parish of Purton had been invited to join other than the three Lydiard artists. This and a number of other rule changes were introduced this year.
Membership stood at 38. Cathy Hyland stood down as Chairwoman. No Chair was appointed at the AGM so Brian Coe stood in as a temporary measure. Brian Davies became an honorary member in recognition of the support he has given over many years.
After a long involvement as part of the Committee, Catherine Pier resigned as the Exhibition Secretary. As such she decided to sell the display boards and trailer the Society used for the exhibition. A number of generous donations meant the Society was able to purchase the boards and trailer, as well as funding the purchase of a cover for the trailer whilst in its newly obtained storage location.
This year saw the mystery of the disappearing ‘Fire extinguisher’. A fire extinguisher was found to be missing after the annual exhibition, later to be found elsewhere in the village fully extinguished, but to date the perpetrators had not been apprehended and the Society were obliged to cover the costs of a replacement.
Membership stood at 35. Following Catherine Piers resignation as the Exhibition Secretary Joe Wright was proposed and accepted the role.
Purton Artists Society received a generous annual award from the Executors for the Estate of Leslie Holland (a founding member of the Society), to continue for five years and then be reviewed by the appointed representatives of Leslie’s Estate, in consultation with Purton Artists. This allowed the Society to create a competition for art students at the Braden Forest School, which ran for a couple of years, allowing them the opportunity to win a prize to help provide them with art materials. Subsequently, the Society established an alternative competition with St Mary’s Primary School, which includes generous prizes for the school children.
This year saw the Society’s very first presence on the internet with the completion of it's own website. The website and newsletter was proposed and cleverly created by Joe Wright.
To focus on increasing exposure for the society and utilising the exhibition to its full potential a small number of working groups were formed to concentrate on certain aspects of running the Society. These working groups also provided opportunity for non-committee members to get more actively involved in the society.
Membership stood at 36.
(Note – In the section below you will find details of all current and previous Committee members, as well as some interesting facts and figures)
(Note – The history up until the chronological section was taken from an article provided by Andy Le Poidevin, published in the Purton magazine in 2002. The chronological section was derived from the minutes of the AGM’s and other committee meeting minutes by Joe Wright for inclusion on this website).
Last updated by Joe Wright – July 2014.
History of the known Committee roles
|Year||President||Chairperson||Treasurer||Secretary||Exhibition Secretary||Publicity Secretary||Membership Secretary||Minute Secretary||Preview Secretary||Committee Members|
|1998||N/A||Catherine Pier||Margaret Belt||Gwen Farrar||N/A||N/A||David Sweet, Andy Le Poidevin, Barbara Woolford, Nelson Woolford|
|1999||N/A||Catherine Pier||David Sweet||N/A||N/A|
|2000||N/A||Catherine Pier||David Sweet||N/A||Brian Coe||N/A||Barbara Woolford||Auguste Menard, Andy Le Poidevin, Barbara Woolford, Nelson Woolford|
|2001||N/A||Catherine Pier||David Sweet||N/A||Brian Coe||N/A||Barbara Woolford||Margaret Belt||Auguste Menard, Andy Le Poidevin|
|2002||N/A||Andy Le Poidevin||David Sweet||Catherine Pier||N/A||Brian Coe||N/A||Barbara Woolford||Margaret Belt||Auguste Menard, Barbara Woolford|
|2003||Margaret Belt||Andy Le Poidevin||David Sweet||Catherine Pier||N/A||Brian Coe||N/A||Barbara Woolford||Margaret Belt||Auguste Menard, Barbara Woolford|
|2004||Margaret Belt||Andy Le Poidevin||David Sweet||Catherine Pier||N/A||Brian Coe||N/A||Barbara Woolford||Auguste Menard, Barbara Woolford|
|2005||Margaret Belt||Andy Le Poidevin||David Sweet||Catherine Pier||N/A||Brian Coe||N/A||Barbara Woolford||Auguste Menard, Barbara Woolford|
|2006||Barbara Woolford||Andy Le Poidevin||David Sweet||Catherine Pier||N/A||Brian Coe||N/A||Barbara Woolford||Auguste Menard|
|2007||Barbara Woolford||Andy Le Poidevin||Chris Rawlings||Jan Walker||Catherine Pier||Brian Coe||Avril Ainscough||Barbara Gosden||Auguste Menard|
|2008||Barbara Woolford||Andy Le Poidevin||Chris Rawlings||Jan Walker||Catherine Pier||Brian Coe||Avril Ainscough||Barbara Gosden||Auguste Menard|
|2009||Barbara Woolford||Andy Le Poidevin||Chris Rawlings||Jan Walker||Catherine Pier||Brian Coe||Avril Ainscough||Barbara Gosden||Auguste Menard|
|2010||Barbara Woolford||Cathy Hyland||Chris Rawlings||Tracey Rapson||Catherine Pier||Brian Coe||Avril Ainscough||Barbara Gosden||Auguste Menard, Andy Le Poidevin|
|2011||Barbara Woolford||Cathy Hyland||Chris Rawlings||Tracey Rapson||Catherine Pier||Brian Coe||Avril Ainscough||Barbara Gosden||Auguste Menard, Andy Le Poidevin|
|2012||Barbara Woolford||Brian Coe||Chris Rawlings||Tracey Rapson||Catherine Pier||Brian Coe||Avril Ainscough||Barbara Gosden||Auguste Menard, Andy Le Poidevin|
|2013||Barbara Woolford||Brian Coe||Chris Rawlings||Tracey Rapson||Joe Wright||Brian Coe||Avril Ainscough||Barbara Gosden||Auguste Menard, Andy Le Poidevin|
|2014||Barbara Woolford||Brian Coe||Chris Rawlings||Tracey Rapson||Joe Wright||Brian Coe||Avril Ainscough||Barbara Gosden||Auguste Menard, Andy Le Poidevin|
|2015||Brian Coe||Chris Rawlings||Tracey Rapson||Joe Wright||Brian Coe||Tracey Rapson||Barbara Gosden||Auguste Menard, Andy Le Poidevin|
|2016||Brian Coe||Chris Rawlings||Tracey Rapson||Joe Wright||Brian Coe||Tracey Rapson||Barbara Gosden||Auguste Menard, Andy Le Poidevin|
Some interesting facts and figures about our history
Membership numbers over the years
(Taken from each years AGM report)
Previous exhibition dates
|1999||November||12th, 13th, 14th|
|2000||November||10th, 11th, 12th|
|2001||November||9th, 10th, 11th|
|2002||November||8th, 9th, 10th|
|2003||November||7th, 8th, 9th|
|2004||November||5th, 6th, 7th|
|2005||November||4th, 5th, 6th|
|2006||November||3rd, 4th, 5th|
|2007||November||2nd, 3rd, 4th|
|2008||November||7th, 8th, 9th|
|2009||November||6th, 7th, 8th|
|2010||November||5th, 6th, 7th|
|2011||November||11th, 12th, 13th|
|2012||November||9th, 10th, 11th|
|2013||November||8th, 9th, 10th|
|2014||November||7th, 8th, 9th|
|2015||November||6th, 7th, 8th|
|2016||November||11th, 12th, 13th|