ID: PH01_AGP / Elaine Barker

TitlePeldon Art Group celebrates 50 years

2019 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Peldon Art Group which meets in the new Peldon and Wigboroughs Community Hall on a Thursday evening.

Founded in 1969 the full and part-time founder members totalled 34. The subscription was 20 shillings (there was also a 10 shilling rate which may have been for juniors). Alternatively you could pay 1 shilling per session.

Founder members included village notables such as Yvonne Barber, known for her beautiful gardens on Lodge Lane, Mrs Barbara Cazenove, part of the famous stockbroker family, Mr Leslie Mallett, life-long assistant in the village stores, and Mr Freddie Walker, whose son John is currently churchwarden of St Mary's Peldon. The tutor in those days was Ivy Mallett, sister-in-law of Leslie.

A Sketch of Les Mallett by Steve Sharpe

By 1975 membership had settled down to 20 when Mike and Jenny Coe joined. Both were stalwart members and Mike, a builder by trade, made the display stands for exhibitions and also began tutoring; effectively Mike and Jenny took over running of the club and Jenny kept the books.

Occasionally a model would be hired for the princely sum of £2. Subscriptions had by the early 1970s gone up to 50 shillings annually plus 20p per session. Ivy became a regular tutor at £2 per session and a model was then regularly hired for £1 per session. Nancy Legget, a long- time member joined in 1975.

By the start of 1983 membership had risen to 26 annual fee-paying members, the subscription now £6. A list of members' telephone numbers was kept for the first time, the code being 9. The majority of numbers starting with 38.

In September 1991, Brian Coates from Great Wigborough joined and shortly after, Steve Sharpe, now the group's tutor, became a member.

By the beginning of 1992 there were 18 - 20 paid-up members paying termly. The same year, Mike Knight took over tutoring when the club was without a teacher, to keep the club going. An Art teacher at Stanway School, he lived at Forge Cottage in Peldon.

Long standing members from this point included Mike and Jenny Coe, Leslie Mallett, Joey Bell, Jeff Kent, Brian Coates, June Plunkett, Freddie Walker and Kit Brookes. Jeff Kent was an accomplished pastel artist.

In 1994 a coach trip was organised to an Art Materials Exhibition at the Design Centre in London and membership remained steady throughout the 1990's

During the 90's Mike Knight left and asked Steve Sharpe to take over as tutor. Steve was a freelance designer and illustrator and lived in Lower Road, Peldon. More long-standing members joined in the 1990s, Jackie Manning, Shirley Stainer and Jenny Wakeling.

Annual exhibitions were held in either the Village Hall or St Mary's Church and the Five Parishes Show. Members also exhibited on their own account at various Colchester and surrounding village Art shows.

Christmas parties in the Village Hall became an annual event, subsequently becoming a dinner at a local pub.

In 2002, Jenny Coe, who had kept the books virtually from Day 1 handed them over to Brian Coates.

A Sketch of Brian Coates by Steve Sharpe

One of the many interesting projects the Art Group produced were four collaborative large paintings made up of 20 canvases, with each member painting one canvas to make up the whole picture.

1. Daisies

2. The Virgin and Child which now hangs on the North wall of St Mary the Virgin, Peldon

3. West Mersea sunset with old oyster packing sheds

4. The L33 Zeppelin

The latter two now hang in the entrance hall of the Peldon and Wigboroughs Community Hall.

The subjects covered in class are many and varied but while a subject is chosen for group work, members may do their own thing and have the advantage of guidance from Steve.

Steve Sharpe also teaches other classes and is a noted artist. He is an architectural illustrator, animal portrait artist, produces illustrations for advertising and does occasional stone carving. For Peldon village he has produced beautiful artwork, whether line-drawings for commemorative mugs, photographing Peldon scenes for Christmas cards, drawing Peldon Church or producing a pictorial map of Peldon for the millennium. Recently, for the Peldon History Project, he has produced a drawing of Peldon's Lower Road as it would have been at the turn of the twentieth century.

Peldon Church by Steve Sharpe

As well as teaching the Peldon Art Group on a Thursday night, Steve runs Art Classes in Peldon on Tuesdays and West Mersea on Wednesdays, 2 - 4 pm. Three ten week terms per year. In a relaxed and informal atmosphere, he gives tuition in drawing, watercolour and acrylics whether it's for the complete beginner or the more experienced.

As he put together the notes for this article, Brian paid tribute to Steve Sharper's teaching

On behalf of the members, I would like to thank Steve who has guided us into new areas of creativity, such as painting with palette knives, and we appreciate all the preparation he does for our evenings. Also a big thankyou to the ladies who make the tea and provide delicious cakes, and to Ann who looks after the clerical side.

Elaine Barker
Peldon History Project

Thanks to Brian Coates and Steve Sharpe

For more information about Steve's classes email:

AuthorElaine Barker
SourceMersea Museum
Related Images:
 Peldon Art Group class in Hall.  PH01_AGP_001
ImageID:   PH01_AGP_001
Title: Peldon Art Group class in Hall.
Date:4 April 2019
Source:Peldon History Project
 Les Mallet, by Steve Sharpe.
 Peldon Art Group.  PH01_AGP_003
ImageID:   PH01_AGP_003
Title: Les Mallet, by Steve Sharpe.
Peldon Art Group.
Source:Peldon History Project / Steve Sharpe
 Peldon Art Group exhibition.  PH01_AGP_005
ImageID:   PH01_AGP_005
Title: Peldon Art Group exhibition.
Date:30 May 2010
Source:Peldon History Project
 Brian Coates, by Steve Sharpe
 Peldon Art Group.  PH01_AGP_007
ImageID:   PH01_AGP_007
Title: Brian Coates, by Steve Sharpe
Peldon Art Group.
Source:Peldon History Project / Steve Sharpe
 Virgin and child. Painting by Peldon Art Group. It now hangs on the north wall of St. Mary the Virgin, Peldon.  PH01_AGP_009
ImageID:   PH01_AGP_009
Title: Virgin and child. Painting by Peldon Art Group. It now hangs on the north wall of St. Mary the Virgin, Peldon.
Date:27 May 2007
Source:Peldon History Project
 Old Oyster Sheds at West Mersea
 Peldon Art Group.  PH01_AGP_011
ImageID:   PH01_AGP_011
Title: Old Oyster Sheds at West Mersea
Peldon Art Group.
Date:9 May 2019
Source:Peldon History Project
 Peldon Art Group.  PH01_AGP_013
ImageID:   PH01_AGP_013
Title: Zeppelin
Peldon Art Group.
Source:Peldon History Project / 9 May 2019
 Peldon Church by Steve Sharpe
 Peldon Art Group.  PH01_AGP_015
ImageID:   PH01_AGP_015
Title: Peldon Church by Steve Sharpe
Peldon Art Group.
Source:Peldon History Project / Steve Sharpe