Battlefield Essex

Through history Essex has been the scene of many battles and this book documents the many different kinds of conflicts that have taken place in our county.

There was, of course, Boudicca’s legendary revolt against the might of Rome. After the sacking and burning of Colchester she headed off down the A12 (or its equivalent) with a growing army to give London the same treatment. The Peasants Revolt of 1381 and the Siege of Colchester during the Civil War are featured, but it is the many less well-known slices of history that make the book so interesting. The Battle of Maldon in August 991 saw the Anglo Saxons crushed by the Viking invaders who had already attacked Ipswich with their fleet of 90 ships. It is described in a remarkable Anglo Saxon poem.

Also covered are more recent and, fortunately, less bloody battles. Like the ‘mods and rockers’ bank holiday clashes at Clacton in the sixties and the ‘Battle of Brightlingsea’ in the nineties when protesters attempted to block the export of live animals to the continent.

There is plenty in this book to inform and entertain anyone with an interest in the fascinating history of Essex.

Paperback, price £8.99

‘Ancient Japan: an exhibition of prints and textiles by Norah Stocker

 ‘Ancient Japan’ by Norah Stocker
Exhibition runs from 2nd – 26th May 2017

Printmaking: This is a series of prints inspired by works of Japanese artist Utamaro (1753-1806) his beautiful detailed work using woodblock printing. Utamaro uses line and pattern on sumptuous fabrics and courtesans in their daily life.

For the last three years I have been exploring the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi in my art and textile work. Natural forms and the spiritual symbolism, the cycle of life and rebirth, impermanence, decay and incomplete. Fine art printmaking will be incorporated into future works of my art on textiles and papers as it will in my teaching.

I am exploring ideas of creating visual decay in methods of applying the inks in soft tonal colours and ghost prints to create small ancient art. Papers will play a very important part of my future work. 

Textiles: The Boro – Japan: exploring stories through threads of life of an impoverished past Japan 15C. Woven, patched, indigo, rags from worn-down workwear and covers in todays world. frayed

Norah is a qualified Printmaker, Art, Design & Textile Artist and teacher of City & Guilds.

 She exhibits throughout East Anglia annually at Quay Gallery Snape Maltings, Braintree Museum, Colchester Minories Gallery and at many other venues.

Find out more about Norah’s work here


Meet the authors: Stephen May and Emma Kittle Pey

Thursday 27th April at 6.30 pm

Come and meet two authors and hear about their new books.

In a unique partnership this event will be hosted by the irrepressible

Anthony Roberts

on a rare night off from the Arts Centre!

This is a free event but space is limited so please email to reserve a seat.

Art Exhibition: An Alphabet of Animals by Daisy Courtauld.

Daisy Courtauld

 an exhibition of Letter Stamp Illustrations

Daisy Courtauld is a portrait artist and illustrator. She studied Fine Art at Colchester Institute and has exhibited both in the UK and internationally. During her degree, Daisy developed a unique method of working with type, and date stamps, repetitively stamped, to gradually build and form an image, according to tone. The end result is a detailed ‘drawing’ made up of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of tiny numbers or letters.

For this exhibition Red Lion Books are showing a selection of Daisy’s ‘Alphabet Animal’ illustrations celebrating the diversity of type, words and print.

Daisy’s stamp technique lends itself well to commission based artworks, using significant dates and initials to create bespoke pieces. Daisy has worked on various projects from portraits and wedding invitations for private clients to greeting cards and murals for charitable organisations. You can see an example of Daisy’s date stamp portraits in this exhibition.

Find out more about Daisy Courtauld’s art here.



Colchester in the Great War

At the outbreak of war in 1914 Colchester was the Eastern Region Army HQ and thousands of new recruits reported to the Garrison for training. While exercising on Abbey Fields the guns of the Western Front could often be heard.

This expert account of the war years covers the role of Colchester as provider of soldiers, manufacturer of arms and equipment and later, as a vast hospital looking after the war wounded. It was here in Colchester that much of the early research was done into shell shock or post-traumatic stress disorder as it was eventually to become known.

Pictured are the cheeky postcards sold to the recruits – which led to a boom for the town’s post office. As winter approached women and children were busy knitting socks, gloves and scarves for the soldiers. In February 1915 a bomb fell in the tiny back garden of number 41 Butt Road. The damage was extensive but the only casualty found amongst the debris was a dead thrush.

The facts are brought to life with personal recollections and photographs giving a wonderfully rounded picture of life in Colchester during those difficult years.