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Newsletter, April 2003 (Issue 151)

Two Books to Explore

Benton End Remembered
Compiled by Gwynneth Reynolds and Diana Grace
Unicorn Press

This lovely book should be of interest to members of The Ipswich Society as a record of an unusual episode in the cultural history of our area. Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines set up a School of Painting in their home, Benton End near Hadleigh and maintained it from 1940 until their deaths in 1978 and 1982. This book is a series of reminiscences by former students, visitors and friends, of their work. The book is beautifully produced, generously illustrated with reproductions of the artists' work, well designed and pleasant to handle. The compilers (both members of the Society) have done an excellent job in giving these memories form and continuity.

Some overall impressions emerge. The methods of teaching, were unconventional and owed everything to the characters of Cedric and Lett; and they had a great influence on the lives and work of the artists who gathered at Benton End. [Editor: the artists include such notable painters as Lucien Freud, Frances Hodgkins and Maggi Humbling.]

The experience was heightened by the beauty of the Tudor house and its wonderful garden. Cedric Morris, besides being a painter of great ability, was a distinguished plantsman and bred irises, so that gardeners as well as artists made the trek to Benton End. There was also that slight air of grubbiness that seems to cling to the unorthodox artistic way of life; descriptions of the kitchen will bring a shudder to the conventional. Altogether, for East Anglians, a book to buy and enjoy.


Ships and Shipyards of Ipswich 1700-1970
by Hugh Moffat
Malthouse Press
(available from the publisher tel: 01473 328927)

Hugh's book is based mainly on research in local newspapers and the Custom House Register of Ipswich Ships.

In the 18th century Ipswich was one of the leading twelve shipbuilding centres in England with more than 10,000 tons to its credit. The shipbuilding yards were located on the River Orwell in the parishes of St Clement's, St Peter's and St Mary Stoke and also at St John's Ness, close to where the Orwell Bridge now crosses the river.

In the 19th century East Indiamen, the largest craft to be launched into the Orwell, were constructed in the Halifax Yard. The launching of the Orwell in 1817 was watched by a crowd of some 20,000. This vessel made eight voyages to the east and later traded along the coast of China.

The output of the Ipswich shipbuilders was not confined to large ships. The range of vessels included little schooners, brigs, brigantines and ketches and also later in the 19th century many spritsail and boomie barges. Many of the vessels built were for Ipswich owners, and the book is also the story of more than two centuries of shipowning in the town.

The book is a good quality hardback containing 180 pages with approximately 80 photographs, sketches and other illustrations.


    Front cover of issue 151 Cover, issue 151

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