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Hampshire Cultural Trust exhibition celebrates the region's relationship with the sea
Air-Sea Rescue Launch D Type, 1943, Stephen Bone © Southampton City Art Gallery, presented by the War Artists Advisory Committee.

GOSPORT.- England’s south coast stretches for over 300 miles - from the rural tranquillity of the Purbeck Hills, to the prosperous ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, bustling Brighton and resurgent Hastings – and down the centuries its history, events and landscape have inspired generations of artists.

In a new exhibition for 2018, Hampshire Cultural Trust is celebrating the region’s relationship with the sea by bringing together 20 works from the world-class collections of Southampton City Art Gallery.

Southern Shores spans almost 200 years of art, maritime and social history – from The Wreckers (1791, George Morland) to Stranger on the Shore (1981, Eden Box) – and features an eclectic selection of paintings by some of Britain’s leading artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The exhibition also includes rarely exhibited works - including the 19th century Moonlight Scene by Adolphus Knell - which have been conserved especially for Southern Shores.

Janet Owen, Chief Executive of Hampshire Cultural Trust, says: “Southern Shores reveals dramatic moments in the area’s history, such as Eurich’s ‘The Wreck of the Herzogin Cecilie’ which reminds us of the fate that befell the beautiful windjammer in the spring of 1936 when she ran aground at Ham Stone Rock, near Bolt Head on the Devon coast. Other paintings, such as Charles Ginner’s ‘Landscape’ and ‘Portchester Castle’ (right), painted by an unknown artist, capture bucolic and quintessential views of the English coast, while Rose Douglas’ ‘Pulling Rowboat Ashore’ affords the modern viewer a glimpse into the hard lives led by our forebears.”

Other highlights of the show include Christopher Nevinson’s Loading Timber at Southampton Docks (1917). This vivid painting, a riot of angular lines and bold colours, was created by one of the most famous war artists of World War One. Nevinson excelled at relating the myriad aspects and roles of war to the viewer. From observing men and women building aircraft, to sitting behind the pilot of a biplane during a combat mission. ‘CRW’, or Richard as he was also known, had a gift for conveying the drama of flying at 4000 feet, being in the trenches with machine gunners,seeing a star shell burst overhead and the movement of people, machines and objects.

In contrast, Stephen Bone’s Air Sea Rescue Launch D Type is the very essence of tranquillity. Painted in 1943 during his time as an Official War Artist attached to the Royal Navy, Bone captures the rescue vessel in the foreground while what was known as the ‘Spitfire of the Seas’, a motor torpedo boat (MTB), lurks in the background. The dark blue and bright yellow hues of the rescue boat are in stark contrast to the limpid, shark grey of its deadly counterpart, highlighting the fact that their purposes could not be more different.

Also included in the exhibition is a series of special contributions written in response to selected paintings by Hampshire poet laureate, Isabel Rogers.

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