Dulwich Quilters

Over five hundred visitors attended the Dulwich Quilters ninth exhibition last November, the most successful to date. The group quilt made as a raffle prize raised £1000 for the year's chosen charity; Southwark Young Carers Project. Another piece, to which all contributed, was a patchwork hanging commissioned by the Paxton Green Surgery.

Dulwich Quilters was founded in 1986 and grew out of a group of the eight original members who were attending a course on patchwork and quilting and who all wanted to continue practising together. Five are still members today. The group thrived and in all forty members were part of the group. Today it has a membership of 25, a necessary restriction on numbers as meetings are held in each others homes.

The group meets twice a month, on a Friday afternoon and a Monday evening when guest speakers, workshops and demonstrations, challenges and discussions are enjoyed. The Dulwich Quilters are quick to point out that they are not to be thought of as women who sit meekly at home quietly sewing. They will argue that they are strong minded, vociferous and adventurous in their work, exploring new design possibilities, techniques and materials.

The group has links with Fine Cell Work, a project which teaches prisoners to sew, embroider and quilt. One of its members, Caroline Wilkinson teaches patchwork and quilting to the (male) inmates of Wandsworth prison; one or two have exhibited at major quilt shows and they will work to commission if required.

Dulwich Quilters have made a number of small, brightly coloured quilts for Project Linus which gives them to very sick children in hospital and who are able to take them home when they are able to leave. 

The Dulwich Players present Top Girls by Carol Churchill

An amusing play, following the life of Marlene , and set in 1980 at the start of "women's power". Marlene has been promoted at work over the heads of her male colleagues and her celebrations involve historical characters coming to dinner. Through interviews and discussions at work we see the career-orientated, dominant woman that Marlene is. Only when we are taken back one year to her sister's house, do we see where she has come from and what she has turned her back on.

Performances: Thursday, 29th, Friday 30th Saturday 31st March 2007 at 8pm

At The Edward Alleyn Theatre, Dulwich College.

Tickets £6 from The Art Stationers, Dulwich Village or from the Box Office 020 8693 4830 

Two's Company present My Real War 1914-?

This play, adapted from the diaries of Havilland Le Mesurier by director Tricia Thorns, is the fourth in the series of forgotten plays about World War 1 that she has brought to a modern audience. Lieutenant Le Mesurier's letters home tell of his unusual adventures in an out of the trenches. It is a true story, told for the first time, of how a lively and funny young man slowly succumbs to the horrors of the war.

These two performances at Dulwich are the last in the play's national tour.

Saturday 3rd March at 3.30pm and 7.30pm at St Barnabas Community Suite, Calton Avenue, SE21. Box Office call 020 8299 4593

Son of Man by Dennis Potter

The Dulwich Community players - Passion Players 2000 present Dennis Potter's Son of Man, directed by Tricia Thorns on 30th & 31st March in St Barnabas Church, Calton Avenue at 8pm The play, which has a cast of forty, covers the last few days of Jesus' life on earth and is an illuminating and thought-provoking experience. The play was originally produced for television in the 1970's and the script has been adapted from that performance. It is the first time it has been performed on stage. There is no admission charge but there will be a retiring collection.

Will the real Jacob van Ruisdael please stand up!

In 1831 John Constable, England's greatest landscape painter, copied Dulwich Picture Gallery's Landscape with Windmills near Haarlem by Jacob van Ruisdael. Dulwich has always known about this copy - it was borrowed from the English private collector who owned it for the exhibition of 1994, Constable A Master Draughtsman. On the back it is inscribed 'copied by John Constable RA Feb 1831 from the original picture by J. Ruisdael in the Dulwich Gallery.' The painting was lent by the Gallery to the Royal Academy where Constable used it to teach his students about landscape painting.

Recently the Constable came up for sale. The Dulwich Picture Gallery has no acquisition funds but it seemed there could be no better home for the picture than in Dulwich - especially as the Gallery has no Constables in its collection. But it has now - thanks to an anonymous gift in memory of Bill and Anita Greenoff, two local Friends who loved the Gallery and gave it much of their time.

Comparing the copy with the original is fascinating. Constable has included the figure on horseback that at the time trotted on the right of the painting - this later addition was cleaned off the original in 1997. He has diligently recorded the effects of chemical degeneration of the original greens in the foreground. In his painting of the sky there is the strongest possible sense of Constable's respect and awe in the face of the Dutch 17th century master. And one can just imagine the Englishman's earnest exhortations to his students to learn from this diminutive painting in which the sky goes on forever, the light bounces from cloud to earth on a cosmic scale, and every wind that ever blew seems trapped on a few square inches of canvas.

The new picture is on display alongside the Ruisdael. 

Canaletto in England

A Venetian Artist Abroad 1746-1755

The current exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery which runs until 15 April shows thirty nine paintings and fifteen works on paper. They give an outstanding topographical image of mid 18th century London with a wealth of highly detailed minutiae. The sweep of the Thames, both upstream towards the new London Bridge and Westminster Abbey or downstream from the terrace of Somerset House looking towards St Paul's reveal Canalletto's uncanny eye for detail. Riverside trades work in the shadow of great architectural splendour, shot towers loom, tenement upon tenement crowds around Westminster Hall and Inigo Jones's Banquetting Hall in Whitehall. Beside these packed scenes of London, there are splendid paintings of Eton College, Windsor and Warwick Castles. His commissions showing some England's great houses, now owned by the National Trust, look sterile by comparison.

Lovers of Canaletto's Venetian scenes will not be disappointed by this exhibition, there are several Venetian canvases the artists completed during his English sojourn.

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