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Join us on our exciting journey to provide a permanent, public home for the works of the Soper family.
We’re building the world’s first art gallery and education centre to showcase a unique collection of artwork from the talented Soper family.
We’re racing towards our goal of raising £600,000 by 20 November 2018 to buy the land and buildings for restoration. But we need your help.
Discover more about this extraordinary family, their remarkable talent and their role in bringing Enid Blyton’s stories to life. Help us unveil this collection for all to share.
Our aim is to enable the work of this talented family to be taken to heart by the general public, both in the United Kingdom and further afield. The clear brilliance of the Sopers’ work is well understood by critics and art lovers who have had the privilege to view the family’s work in exhibitions and sales.
Now it is time to make the collection available for all to enjoy.
The Soper Heritage Art Gallery and Education Centre will be built in the heart of the East Anglian countryside: the very area that provided the inspiration for so many of the Soper works. The gallery will showcase the entire collection, on rotation, throughout the year.
The centre will also provide space for workshops, classes and lectures to educate and encourage future generations of artists, as well as art, history, country and wildlife lovers.
The Soper Collection needs to raise £600,000 by 20th November, 2018 to complete the purchase of the 7-acre site near Lavenham, Suffolk.
Yes, by 20th November 2018!
Join us on our exciting journey to provide a permanent public home for the works of the Soper family.
For the next stages, the restoration and construction of the art gallery and education centre, together with landscaping, we are applying for major grants and public donations.
The Soper Collection, comprehensively comprising original pieces in oil, watercolour, etchings, woodcuts, pencil, ink and other media, was compiled by John Baker and his wife Joy.
Following the hospitalisation of Eva and Eileen in 1989, the content of the Sopers’ family home was discovered to reveal a treasure trove of original artwork. After Eileen and Eva’s death later in 1990, their joint wills stipulated that each piece should be sold in order to raise funds for the Artists’ General Benevolent Institution. It was an initial exhibition in Lavenham in 1990 of George Soper’s working horse artwork that captured Joy’s attention. John was insistent that the entire collection should not be broken up and together they arranged to purchase 16 pieces.
The couple continued to purchase pieces as more of George Soper’s artwork was released. Soon Eileen’s work appeared in an exhibition and the Bakers were captivated all over again by the celebration of life and movement that was expressed through her work. They took out a mortgage to enable a collection of Eileen’s glorious wildlife work to be kept together with that of her father.
Sadly, John passed away in 1994 but with the hope that the collection would continue to grow and that one day it would be available for the public to enjoy. Joy continued to purchase the artwork, growing the collection to over 700 original pieces along with a huge array of memorabilia, some purchased and a mass being entrusted by Chris Beetles Ltd.
Now, the world’s largest collection of Soper artwork is to find a permanent home, on display in the heart of East Anglia, in the countryside that the Sopers loved and sought inspiration from.
With your help, we will build the Art Gallery and Education Centre. We will showcase this unique collection and inspire generations of artists to be uplifted by and to learn from the styles and techniques employed by this reclusive and remarkable family.
The Soper Collection is paying a non-returnable deposit for a 7 acre site, including a 17th-century barn, just outside Lavenham, Suffolk. We will lovingly restore, refurbish and build on this site to create the Soper Heritage Art Gallery and Education Centre.
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