|Beach and Star Fish, Seven Sisters Cliff, Eastbourne, John Piper. 1933-34|
Off to Two Temple Place this afternoon for this year's exhibition - Sussex Modernism - bizarrely, in the most ornate surroundings you can imagine. It starts with a roast peacock banquet in 1914 for an old-school poet who thought this modern stuff was all tosh - well, that was a bit of a distraction because it set me off wondering what roast peacock tastes like and whether you'd need some bread sauce with it or a few chipolatas - but stay with me, because we're off on a tour of Sussex, starting at Ditchling then on to Charleston Farmhouse ... At the back of the catalogue, there's directions for a real tour - well, you'd have to whizz around to fit it all into a day, but it did make me long to visit Furlongs and Farleys Farmhouse and West Dean, though I'd rather take it slowly over a few long summer afternoons. Why rush?
Sussex wasn't just a rural escape, it was a threshold - gateway to Europe (for ideas and refugees) and also a site for potential invasion. Piper's cliffs are torn-out pages from the New Statesman: a strip of classified ads for English private schools, perhaps making some statement about the class system, and (hard to read as they're upside down) news reports about Nazism in Germany
|Landscape near Rye, Edward Burra, 1943|
|Bronze Ballet, Edward Wadsworth, 1940|
|The Annunciation, Vanessa Bell, 1942|
Two Temple Place has become a winter landmark for me; half way between Christmas and spring, although sadly the cake isn't anywhere near as good as it was a few years ago. Shame - but it's still free to get in and there's some fabulous pictures of this very quirky building here.