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A Happy New Year to you all and to all at Pannett Art Gallery!
We are very pleased indeed to be able to report that public knowledge of The Soper Collection can now only go from strength to strength. At Pannett Art Gallery, in the Spring of last year, the involvement of Eva’s Birds and Eileen’s bird drawings and writings in the national initiative ‘The Wild Escape’ occasioned lovely activity from those involved and generated much interest in the collection.
From June to September the Exhibition ‘The Natural World – the artwork of George, Eileen and Eva Soper’ illustrated the incredibly varied output of these nationally important artists and raised public awareness of their glorious creativity. Visitor numbers to Pannett Art Gallery increased significantly during the summer show, many people saying they would like to visit all forthcoming Soper exhibitions.
We, the trustees, visited in September. A staff member from the Royal Worcester Porcelain Museum had visited the exhibition earlier and e-mailed us saying: “you will not be disappointed!” We were not! We knew that Helen Berry, Curator, would have taken the greatest care but we do have to say we were quite overwhelmed by the hanging of the exhibition. The juxtaposition of the paintings was superb and to be able to see so much of the collection on display, in such a venue, at one time – never previously possible– was an emotional experience and as such echoed by other visitors who have reported to us.
The artwork of George and Eileen Soper, together with the bird models created by Eva, is an astonishing family achievement. This website shows some of the variety and now the forthcoming exhibitions will enable the glories of our working horse history, the portrayals of our flora and fauna and beauty of our countryside, the illustrative work of both George and Eileen and much more of the family’s literary and art accomplishment to be seen by all who visit. A selection of Soper artwork will always be on show in the Weatherill Gallery, which is now to be renamed the Weatherill & Soper Gallery, and Soper work will be included or used solely in many forthcoming exhibitions.
In this year, 2024, exhibition plans include Marine work, the Extraordinary, then, later in the year, Illustration. George’s marine work will be shown with that of other marine artists. This exhibition will be illuminating. Then “Look closer, see the extraordinary …….’ including Eileen’s work will be fascinating. Later in the year George’s and Eileen’s illustration work will be shown together with that of other illustrators, all absorbing. We know all exhibitions will be visual feasts and will be inspirational and emotive experiences for visitors of all ages.
Recently the Soper home was considered for Listing by Historic England. For many valid reasons this was not considered possible and therefore is not to be regretted. A full report is in the public domain. However, we feel we should quote from the held DISCUSSION as follows: “There can be no doubt that growing up at 58 Harmer Green Lane, surrounded by wildlife, had a profound impact on the two young artists and their artistic output. There is also no doubt of the collective national importance of the work of George, Eva and Eileen Soper.” Also, from the FACTS as presented to the Secretary of State: “Historic England does not dispute the collective national importance of the Soper family and their contributions to British and visual culture in the C20th.”
It is very, very good indeed for it to be known that the Soper family artists, George and his two daughters Eva and Eileen, now have due credit to their name in terms of national importance and that the public, now and for the foreseeable future, has opportunity for the Soper artwork to be absorbed into public consciousness as part of our rich art heritage to be treasured now and by future generations.
This will be our last trustee Newsletter from The Soper Collection. You may like to be kept up to date with coming exhibitions and activities at Pannett Art Gallery and you are invited to sign up on their Home Page to be kept informed of coming events. Please see: www.pannettartgallery.org.
Pannett Art Gallery’s existing historic and local Staithes and Weatherill Collections are now augmented, further enriched and complemented by the ethos of George Soper and his family demonstrated in the wonders of The Soper Collection.
We thank you for following and supporting us on our journey and we wish you all, returning visitors and newcomers to Pannett Art Gallery alike, wonderful viewing in the years to come.
We raise a toast to the Pannett Art Gallery and to you the public
Trustees: Geoff Lindsey-Smith (Chair), Jane Gosling, Joy Baker.
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