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‘An exploration of the unique decorative scheme by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant at Berwick Church, Sussex, through image, music and word.’

Actor, novelist, film director and screenwriter Julian Fellowes begins the programme in conversation with Deborah Gage on growing up in Sussex and its surrounding artistic milieu, and will reflect on the impact this had on his career.

The informal interview is a prelude to an illustrated, dramatised talk adapted by Revd Mary Sitwell and Linda Hallums based on the recently published book, The Bloomsbury Group in Berwick Church, by Revd Peter Blee.

This presentation Bloomsbury, Bloodshed and the Bible, reveals the moving story of the commissioning of a series of paintings by the Bloomsbury Group artists Vanessa Bell, her son Quentin Bell, and her lover Duncan Grant to decorate the interior of the church of St Michael and All Angels, Berwick, near their home Charleston, in East Sussex.

In 1941, in the midst of World War II, Bishop George Bell of Chichester sought to revive the Church’s patronage of artists and this commission, one of the most complete decorative schemes by modern artists for an ancient rural church in this country, is now of international importance. Now, on the seventy-fifth anniversary of their dedication, the evening marks the launch of a national appeal for the restoration of the paintings.

Organised jointly by Art Fund and the Berwick (Sussex) Conservation Trust (founded to conserve the paintings), the occasion will be enhanced by the extraordinary and historic setting of the Royal Institution, in the celebrated raked amphitheatre, where scientists, artists, authors and politicians have shared their ideas for 200 years.

The organisers would like to express their gratitude to the following event sponsors:
Deborah Gage
Tim and Kit Kemp, Charlotte Street Hotel
Mr and Mrs Roger Orf
Danny and Gry Katz
Robert and Matthew Travers, Piano Nobile (Works of Art) Ltd
Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert Ltd
AXA ART Insurance
Hallett Independent Art and Heritage Insurance

Royal Institution of Great Britain


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