Homelessness in Colchester is nothing new. At the turn of the 20th century two of our town’s most well-known residents were Emma and Grimes, an inseparable couple, devoted to each other though famous for their bickering, who slept in ditches and toured the streets scrounging for food.
This book describes itself as ‘an anthology of new poetry in aid of Colchester’s homeless’, but it is so much more. It contains a wide, varied and endlessly interesting collection of poems all on the theme of Colchester and its history by poets both well-known and unknown. But interleaved are many fine paintings and drawings by local artists as well as photographs that complement the poems. Added to that are fascinating articles on Colchester’s history and on homelessness and vagrancy over time, making this a book that really does have something for everyone. Author and historian, Alice Goss has done a splendid job in shaping poems, pictures and history into a coherent themed anthology to raise funds to help Colchester’s homeless people.
Anyone who has spent much time in Colchester has quite likely encountered an elderly chap with flowing white hair and moustache, sitting beside his easel with paintbrush in hand. Charles Debenham was born and raised in Colchester and has been painting the buildings and street scenes around the town for most of his life – as well as straying over the border to Sudbury.
He doesn’t seek out just the pretty buildings and he doesn’t wait for the sun to shine before he paints – always with his distinctive palette of muted colours. Here are pictures of corner shops, pubs, tattoo parlours and simple terraces with wheelie bins. For Charles Debenham, painting a building is like painting a portrait – each one has a story to tell, but it can take the fresh eyes of an artist to reveal that character. And some also record the life of people in the streets. Buskers and mothers pushing buggies; shoppers and friends talking at the roadside. Together these pictures form a portrait gallery of the people and buildings of Colchester and Sudbury.
Private view on Wednesday 12th September 6 – 8 pm all welcome.
We are really pleased to welcome back to Red Lion Books this talented group of local artists who have been working and exhibiting together now for over 20 years.
The current exhibition includes photography, paintings, ceramics sculpture and glasswork to give a snapshot of the range, style and quality of artistic expression that we have come to expect from the wonderful Backyard Artists.
The Backyard Artists have shown together for the last twenty five years.
The group began following a conversation round a kitchen table in Rowhedge back in the early 1990’s when a number of people living in the village became aware of each other’s work and arranged an exhibition in the garden of Quay House.
The group have exhibited in David’s garden almost every summer since then and this summer’s 25th exhibition was the final one in the garden. The group will continue to show work together in other venues across North Essex and Suffolk as we have done for a number of years.
The Backyard Artists have very different backgrounds. Some are self-taught, others have art school training or have worked professionally in graphic design, photography and printing.