Drawing Residency at St Mary’s Church

Artists are being invited to apply for a Drawing Residency this summer at one of this country’s most beautiful parish churches. St. Mary’s Lydiard Tregoze, which lies in Lydiard Park on the outskirts of Swindon in Wiltshire is undergoing a major Heritage Lottery Fund project to conserve its medieval wallpaintings and historic interior.

St. Mary’s is famous for its superb Renaissance monuments to the St. John family of Lydiard Park, from the beautiful painted window by Abraham Van Linge to the early 17th Century life size polyptych  depicting members of this old Wiltshire family. John Betjeman enthused about the building and his friend and artist John Piper’s painting of the ‘Golden Cavalier’, a striking monument to Captain Edward St. John, hangs in the adjacent Lydiard House.

As part of the conservation project up to three artists will be offered the chance to undertake a residency over a six week period for a minimum of 2 days a week between June and October 2019.  Although the residency is based on observational drawing in the church, artists can interpret their work in any medium. To qualify they will need to practice in the area of contemporary drawing and be over 19 years of age.

The residencies are voluntary positions but artists will be able to exhibit their work in a special 6 week exhibition curated by Sophie Cummings at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery in early 2020. Their work will also feature on the St. Mary’s on-line drawing/painting archive.

Artists who are based in Swindon and Wiltshire are particularly welcome to apply. They should request an application form from the St. Mary’s Church Parish Office wspartnershipoffice@gmail.com

Completed applications should be submitted no later than Friday 3rd May 2019

Swindon College School of Art tutor, Morgan Tipping, says:

‘The residency aims to capture the interior wallpaintings and unique architectural features of St. Mary’s and could include the conservation in action which is being undertaken by internationally renowned conservators. The role of the artists will be employ observational drawing to capture this historic moment and provide a record of what is uncovered. Swindon College School of Art is a partner in the conservation project and recommend the residency to artists with a passion for drawing at any stage in their career’.

Sophie Cummings, Curator Swindon Museum and Art Gallery says:

‘We are really looking forward to the exhibition. Not only will it shine a light on the St. Mary’s Church project and on the talented artists who respond to it, but it will also speak to Swindon’s wider church history and complement objects in the museum and fine art in the town’s prestigious 20th Century and Contemporary art collection. It’s a great opportunity for artists to profile their work’

Revd. Capt.  Clive Deverell, Vicar of St. Mary’s Lydiard Tregoze says:

‘At St. Mary’s we warmly welcome applications from artists for this drawing residency and look forward to meeting them and seeing how they interpret our beautiful church.  There will be so much interest in the work they produce by the church family and the wider community.  I hope the residency will provide a meaningful and enjoyable experience for those who are chosen to participate.’

“The artist residence provides a unique & exciting opportunity to capture the conservation of the wall paintings as they are further revealed and the spirit of place in St Mary’s. The 21st century artist record follows in the footsteps of the medieval wall painters and successive generations of artists who have recorded the rich history & treasures of St Marys,” said Paul Gardner, Chair of the St Mary’s Conservation Project.

“Over the last 200 years  well- loved British artists including  John Piper and Sir Hugh Casson and the popular 20th century Canadian artist George Tinning have recorded St Mary’s for posterity.  In the 19th century, local watercolourists carefully depicted some of the ancient wall paintings discovered during building renovations. Today we have another wonderful opportunity to create a permanent and valuable record of St. Mary’s Church at this important point in its history,” said Sarah Finch-Crisp, Heritage Advisor to St Mary’s Church.